Werner Bischof


Werner Bischof (Swiss, 1916–1954) studied at Zurich’s school of arts and crafts with Hans Finsler until 1936, then opened a studio for photography and graphic design. From 1939 on he did fashion and editorial work for magazines, among them the renowned Swiss magazine Du, until he started extensive travels through Europe in the postwar years to document the devastations of World War II. He developed a decidedly human-interest style and thus joined the Magnum Photos agency in 1949. Nonetheless he maintained his idea of aesthetic forms, carefully studied light, and formal composition, which was documented in his 1946 portfolio 24 Photos. In 1951 he extended his scope to international travel and created deeply moving photographic essays on assignment for Life magazine in India, Japan, and Korea. He also covered the Indochina war for Paris Match magazine. In 1954, while traveling in Latin America – Mexico, Panama, and Peru – he was killed in car accident in the Peruvian Andes.