The work of René Burri, from Cuba to China
"I never thought I would become a photographer," René Burri once said - and went on to become exactly that. This week the renowned Swiss photographer turns 80 but he still continues to take pictures and publish his work.
Burri studied at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich. He started working as a documentary filmmaker and using a Leica camera while performing his military service. His life changed forever when he joined the prestigious photography agency Magnum Photos in 1955, introduced by Swiss photographer Werner Bischof. His first reportage appeared in 'Life' magazine shortly afterwards.
During the 1950s Burri worked for the Swiss cultural monthly DU. He travelled throughout Europe and the Middle East and went to Latin America where he did a series on the Argentinian gauchos. He also photographed artists such as Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Le Corbusier.
In 1962 he published his book 'The Germans' and one year later, when working in Cuba, met cigar smoking Che Guevara, an encounter which resulted in one of the most iconic portraits of the 20th century.
The publication of 'René Burri. Impossible Reminiscences' coincides with his 80th birthday.
Although known mainly for his black-and-white images, he started using colour film early on, and the book is a collection of previously largely unpublished colour photographs.
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