Werner Bischof . Pictures

Retrospective of a MAGNUM Photographer
July 29 2006 until September 24 2006
© Thomas Schweigert
© Thomas Schweigert
© Thomas Schweigert
© Thomas Schweigert
© Thomas Schweigert

The photographs of the early Swiss MAGNUM photographer Werner Bischof open our eyes to new worlds. First, to the delicate dreamy world of studio photography, while the Second World War rampages outside. Then, the photographer, born in 1916, shows us war-ravaged Europe, refugees, a new start and the reconstruction. Later, he looked at India, caught between traditions and an industrial revolutions; at modern war in Korea; at Japan as a spiritual island of beauty with Hiroshima an open wound within it; at Hong Kong and the guerrilla war in Indochina; at the American New World, glamorous and impersonal, and at the contrasting warmth of Central America; and finally, at the ancient culture of the Incas in Peru, where Bischof was killed in a car crash in 1954.

Werner Bischof’s gift lies in his ability to create images with a presence that still seems alive even today. It is astonishing how timeless and contemporary his photographs still seem. With his clear, epic style, his framing that seems daring but not artificial, his flair for light and his instinctive grasp of the right moment, Bischof was ahead of his time and had a long-lasting effect on early photojournalism. Human beings are the central preoccupation of his work; Bischof attempted to explore existence itself, the life of different cultures and the huge range of manifestations of life in the natural world.