The early work of Swiss Magnum photographer Werner Bischof: fashion photography and reportage in color
1st edition, 2023
184 pages, 102 color illustrations
21 x 24 cm
In cooperation with MASI Lugano and Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur
Swiss photographer Werner Bischof (1916–54) is best known for his impressive black-and-white images, most of which were taken on expeditions as a reporter in postwar Europe and during the Indochina War (1946–54), and on his travels in the Far East and South America. Far too little known are Bischof’s early color photographs, comprising studio work in fashion and advertising photography as well as reportage from war-damaged European cities. For these, Bischof used various types of camera, including a Devin Tricolor. This elaborate color-separation device exposed three monochrome plates in a single exposure, each of them equipped with a color filter so that a true color print was subsequently made by addition of the three monochrome negatives. Some 200 of Bischof’s Devin Tricolor negatives have been restored and a selection of them is published for the first time ever in this book.
The beautifully illustrated volume is fascinating not only from a photo-historical perspective. Even these early color images reveal Bischof's outstanding, sensitive aesthetic that characterizes his entire oeuvre. 102 color plates are supplemented with texts by Clara Bouveresse, the French photography historian, Peter Pfrunder, the director of the Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur, and Luc Debraine, the director of the Swiss Camera Museum in Vevey.
Ludovica Introini is an art historian working at MASI Lugano’s exhibition office.
Francesca Bernasconi is an art historian and head of MASI Lugano’s exhibition office.
Interview with Marco Bischof about his work on the monograph on his father in the Guardian!