Swiss Photographer | Born: 1933 - Died: 2014
René Burri is a Swiss photographer known for his photos of major political, historical and cultural events and key figures of the second half of the 20th century. Burri worked for Magnum Photos and has been photographing political, military and artistic figures and scenes since 1946. He has made portraits of Che Guevara and Pablo Picasso as well as iconic pictures of Săo Paulo and Brasília.
Burri studied in Zurich, Switzerland at the School of Applied Arts from 1949 to 1953, where he worked under Hans Finsler, Alfred Willimann and Johannes Itten. From 1953 to 1955 he began working as a documentary filmmaker while completing military service. During this time he also began working with Leica cameras. Then he worked for Disney as a cameraman until 1955. From 1956 to 1959 he traveled extensively to places including Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Brazil, and Japan, which led to publications in Life, Look, Stern, Paris-Match, Epoca, and New York Times, as well as a photographic essay "El Gaucho" which appeared in Du.
Burri first began working with Magnum Photos in 1955 through Werner Bischof, becoming a full member in 1959 and being elected chair of Magnum France in 1982. His first report "Touch of Music for the Deaf" on deaf-mute children was published by Life. In 1965 he assisted with the creation of Magnum Films which lead to his work on the Magnum-BBC joint production of, The Two Faces of China. In 1967 he produced a documentary on the Six-Day War in Jerusalem for German television. He produced the film Jean Tinguely in 1972.
Author: Arthur Rüegg
Publisher: Verlag Scheidegger and Spiess
Year: 2011 - Pages: 224
Last year marked the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of Brazil’s capital Brasilia. Designed by architects Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, it has since become one of the most famous and widely studied urban planning projects. Niemeyer’s cathedral, Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida; his building for the national parliament, the Congresso Nacional; and the city’s 707-foot television tower have become icons of twentieth-century architecture. The entire city, marked by its cross-shaped layout and vast open spaces, was named a UNESO World Heritage site in 1987.
René Burri, an internationally celebrated Swiss-born photographer and member of the legendary Magnum agency, visited the city for the first time on a long journey around South America in 1958, when most of Brasilia was a vast building site. He returned many times over more than thirty years, documenting the growth and development of this urban utopia. Besides documenting the buildings in various stages of completion, Burri took portraits of Niemeyer and his workers and photographed Brasilia’s street scenes and people: workers with their tools, machinery and building materials, pedestrians on the newly finished streets and squares, and aerial views from the air of the city’s first slums abutting brand-new blocks of residential buildings. His images capture the strong sense of a new era and a vibrant atmosphere of hard work and strain; they reflect the huge dimensions of the landscape and the great scale of this project and its ambition to design and build a new capital—and fill it with life.
Complete with an essay by eminent architect and scholar of architectural history Arthur Rüegg, René Burri. Brasilia marks the city’s fiftieth anniversary and allows readers to look at an extraordinary city through the eyes of an exceptional photographer.