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René Burri, Das Island, United Arab Emirates, 1976 © René Burri, Courtesy Galerie Esther Woerdehoff

René Burri | Impossible Reminiscences

Posted on November 3, 2013 by Julia Schiller

Opening reception, book signing and lecture:
Wednesday, November 6, from 6pm to 9pm; the photographer will be present
Exhibition: Nov 6 – 23, 2013
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
36 rue Falguière / 75015 Paris – France / tue. – sat. – 2 – 6 p.m.

Press Release by Galerie Esther Woerdehoff (links added by ACMV):
No need to introduce René Burri, the legendary Swiss photographer born in Zurich – his portraits of Che Guevara, Le Corbusier or Picasso are true icons.

However, there is still a lot to discover: Burri, who has been a member of the Magnum agency since 1959 and famous for his black-and-white photographs, always carried along at least two cameras. While shooting in black and white, he would always take color pictures.

René Burri says :

“I have led a double life as a photographer – one in black and white and one in color.”

Some of his color photographs were published in 1959 by the Swiss magazine Du at a time when black and white was standard in the press, mostly for practical and financial reasons (color will start to appear progressively in newspapers and magazines during the 60’s). Rediscovered today, theses photographs reveal a hidden side to René Burri’s work, created over 50 years.

These images, mostly unknown, were recently published by Phaidon and will be exhibited for the first time in France at the gallery Esther Woerdehoff.
For many years, the gallery Esther Woerdehoff has maintained a deep friendship with the photographer. The gallery exhibited his mythical black and white photographs and his collages in 2007 and 2011.

René Burri

Born in 1933, René Burri studied graphic design and photography at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich. At first more interested in documentary film, he finally became a photographer and opened a studio with Walter Binder. During his military service in 1953, he started taking pictures using a Leica.

In 1955, Life Magazine published his photo essay on a school for deaf-mute children. He became at first an associate and then, in 1959, a full member of the prestigious photo agency, Magnum. In 1962, he published his first book: Die Deutschen (The Germans).
As a Photo-reporter, René Burri travelled around the world to follow the great events of his time: in China during the student demonstrations on Tiananmen Square, in Berlin during the fall of the Wall, in Egypt, Japan, Brasil, Korea… The photographer has always sought to depict everyday life, street scenes, atmospheres in pictures filled with humanity. His photo essays were published in the most important magazines and newspapers such as Life, Paris-Match, Du, Stern, The New York Times.

Famous for his portrait of Che Guevera, René Burri photographed many other celebrities and artists (and even became friends with some of them) such as Giacometti, Picasso or Le Corbusier.

In 1998, he won the “Erich Salomon Prize” of the German Society for Photography and in 2011, the “Swiss Press Photo Lifetime Achievement Award” for his entire career.
In 2004, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris held a major retrospective exhibition of his work, shown in many museums through Europe and South America.
In addition to his photographic work in black and white or in color, René Burri also filmed several documentaries and expressed himself as an artist with collages and drawings.
The photographer lives between Paris and Zurich. In 2013, the Fondation René Burri was created and its collection will be kept at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne.

All images © René Burri, Courtesy Galerie Esther Woerdehoff

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