Magnum Photos press release October 20, 2014
It is with great sadness that Magnum Photos announces the death of René Burri.
From his family:
“The famous Swiss photographer René Burri left us today, at the age of 81 after a long illness. He leaves behind an important body of work on recent history, which has been published in countless newspapers, journals, magazines, exhibitions and books all over the world. Among his most famous photos are portraits of Che Guevara, Pablo Picasso and Le Corbusier, a breathtaking view into the streets of Sao Paolo and his stories of Cuba and Vietnam.
Born in 1933 in Zurich, early on he went to Paris whilst studying with Hans Finsler at the Arts and Crafts school of Zurich. After the premature death of one of founders of Magnum, Werner Bischof in 1954, he became a member of the prestigious photo agency in 1956. His world embracing engagement as a photographer and film maker led him to what became his credo, we all live in ‘one world’.
Recently he published a collection of little seen colour photographs, in addition to his well known black and white work, which are represented in two impressive volumes published by Phaidon in 2003 and 2013.
Burri was considered very early as one of the masters in photography, publishing brilliant photo stories in the Swiss magazine ‘Du’, such as work on ‘gauchos’ or ‘bahias’, and more recently an issue was illustrated with his collages.
Another story that qualifies him to be counted among the most important figures of this century’s photographic history is Burri’s detailed research on Germany and the Germans after WWII ‘Die Deutschen’.
With René Burri the world of photography loses one of its most powerful artists, a true humanist, who skillfully documented from behind the scenes the suffering and joy of human kind.”
From Martin Parr, President of Magnum Photos:
“Not only was he one of the great post war photographers, he was also one of the most generous people I have had the privilege to meet. His contribution to Magnum and his unrivalled ability to tell stories and entertain us over this time will be part of his enormous legacy…Our thoughts and best wishes go out to his family.”