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Known the world over for his iconic images of Che Guevara and Brasília, René Burri is one of the world’s greatest living photographers. Now, for the first time ever and featuring many never before published images, Burri’s remarkable and adventurous work is brought together in this career retrospective of over 400 duotone photographs. Edited and compiled by distinguished writer Hans-Michael Koetzle in close collaboration with Burri, this unprecedented retrospective is a history book of the major political events and key personalities of the 20th century seen through the eyes of one photographer. Nothing like this book on Burri has ever been published before, and it is a real coup for Phaidon to be the first to publish his entire career’s work.
A member of the prestigious Magnum photo agency, Burri is a photographer whose curiosity and humanity as a photographer have afforded him almost unrestricted access to the major events and personalities of the last fifty years. In this way, René Burri Photographs is a fascinating personal account of the major artists, politicians and personalities that Burri has made a part of his life. First achieving international recognition with the seminal photography book on post-WWII Germany Die Deutschen (The Germans) in 1962, René Burri has since become one of the most important figures in the history of photography, admired and respected by his peers for his sympathetic eye and his ability to capture larger-than-life personalities on film.
René Burri Photographs is the culmination of several years of scholarly research by distinguished writer Hans Michael Koetzle into Burri’s important contribution to reportage photography. In 21 thematically organized chapters, we accompany Burri across Europe to the Middle East, Vietnam, Brazil, Cuba and beyond: we visit Picasso, Le Corbusier, Yves Klein and Giacometti in their studios; we witness political figures such as Che Guevara in repose, and Fidel Castro at the helm. The book begins with an introduction that describes the history, politics and artistic influences that have coloured Burri’s work. Each of the 21 chapters is accompanied by colour-coded bands for easy reference (for example, Chapter 2 on Picasso is accompanied by blue bands; Chapter 14 on Germany, green bands). Each of the chapters begins with a 2-page essay which gives an overview of the images in that particular section, the time period and political climate, and the circumstances that drew Burri to ph! otograph the subject. In addition, each image in the book is accompanied by a caption detailing the place, year and event. The book is designed by prominent Swiss graphic designer Werner Jeker of ADN Design, Lausanne.