Masters of Photography: Werner Bischof

Masters of Photography: Werner Bischof

Welcome to another entry into our Masters of Photography Series. In this edition, we’re going to be looking at Werner Bischof.

You may remember our Masters article on Magnum, the esteemed photography collective that has been responsible for some of the most iconic images in the last century. Werner Bischof was one of the earliest members of the group, and helped to shape the landscape for those who came after him.

Peru, 1954

Peru, 1954

Born in Switzerland, Bischof graduated from Kunstgewerbeschule with honours before beginning work as an independent photographer for several magazines.

Much of Bischof’s most notable work came from his exploration of the devastation in post-war Europe, particularly the impact the war had on poorer areas. His early work juxtaposes images of ruined buildings and hungry children, with the beauty of foreign lands from his work elsewhere in the world.

Hungary, 1947

Hungary, 1947

Hungary, 1947

Hungary, 1947

Bischof said that he disliked the “superficiality and sensationalism” of magazine photography, despite much of his early work coming from such publications, and he spent most of his working life exploring the tranquillity of traditional cultures in places like Japan, Korea, and Indochina. And despite the images not being “sensational”, they still found a home in major magazines across the world.