The Leica Gallery London will show the exhibition ‘A Life in Photographs’, which exclusively features the work of the Magnum Photos photojournalist Werner Bischof, from 7 April till 8 May 2022.
Leica Camera UK has collaborated with the Estate of Werner Bischof in order to bring oversized prints of some of Bischof’s most revered and iconic images to London for the first time ever.
Significantly, in 1949, Bischof was the first photographer, outside of the founding members, to join the famous Magnum Photos agency.
Magnum Photos had been formed in 1947 by the photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and David ‘Chim’ Seymour.
Frida Kahlo in her studio, Mexico City, 1954. © Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos
Bischof’s life & work
Bischof was born in Switzerland in 1916 and in 1932 enrolled at the Zurich School of Applied Arts, where he studied in Hans Finsler’s newly established photography class. He graduated in 1936.
He opened his own photography and advertising studio in Zurich in 1936 and was receiving international recognition as early as 1945, after the publication of his work on the devastation caused by the Second World War.
In the years that followed, Bischof travelled to Italy and Greece for Swiss Relief, an organisation that was dedicated to post-war reconstruction.
Junks in the harbour of Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1952. © Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos
In 1948, he photographed the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, in his native Switzerland, for LIFE magazine.
After trips to Eastern Europe, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, he also worked for publications including Picture Post, The Observer, Illustrated and Epoca.
The work on show
The works in the exhibition includes colour photographs taken in New York in 1953 and 1954.
It also includes Bischof’s Japanese images, which have now become instantly recognisable and synonymous with his name.
Shinto Priests in the courtyard of the Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan, 1951. © Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos
The exhibition also poignantly includes his work in a remote part of Peru that was taken during the month that he died.
Werner Bischof tragically died in a road accident after plunging into a ravine in the Andes in May 1954, aged just 38.
Nine days later his second son, Daniel, was born in Zurich.
Street gorge, New York City, USA, 1954. © Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos
Prints on sale
The exhibition will take place between 7 April and 8 May 2022 at the Leica Gallery London, 66-64 Duke Street, London, W1K 6JD.