1950 Europe

The late forties were taken up by work for the International Press, Bischof’s debut as a photo­journalist. In 1949 Werner Bischof joined the young, politically enga­ged Magnum Photos group, and spent 1950 working in Great Britain and Italy. In Zurich he married Rosellina Mandel, and put together a book, on the topic of Mother and Child.

1949 Switzerland – Germany – England – France

Werner Bischof spends time in London as a collaborator at Picture Post and Observer

First meeting with the founders of Magnum Photos in Paris, Werner Bischof becomes a member.

Working on the book ‘Mutter und Kind’ for the Migros Cooperative in Zurich.

Wedding with Rosellina Mandel.

1950 Magnum Photos ​

Magnum Photos meeting in Paris 1950 which includes Bischof for the first time.

In 1947 Hungarian Robert Capa, Pole David Seymour, Frenchman Henri Cartier-Bresson and Englishman George Rodger founded a cooperative in New York bearing a distinguished Roman name intended to program­matically convey something of their expansive agenda and the indepen­dence of their members from publishers and editors of the giant daily papers.

Capa had this obsession that proved to be the most sensible idea in the history of photography: a journalist is nothing unless he owns the rights to his negatives.

A cooperative was the best venue for insuring these rights and freedom of action for each and every photo­journalist.

In brief: Capa and his friends invented the copyright for photo­graphy. Even if they had done nothing else, they gave their métier freedom and turned photo­graphers in servitude into free artists. (by Romeo Martinez)

1950 England​

London, June 1950

“Tomorrow I start my first story for ‘Illustrated,’ which wants a whole series from me in the upcoming weeks. The first report: a hospital open 24 hours in the East End of London. I will primarily work in the ‘Accident Department’ and try to convey in a compelling manner something of the contrast between the dark, slumbering city and the light and helpful atmosphere of the hospital.”

1950 Scotland​

Edinburgh, Scotland, 15 July 1950

“I was visiting the penguins in the zoo. Edinburgh has the most renowned collection in the world. Every week a warden takes a group on a promenade through the town to draw new visitors to the zoo.”

To Maria Eisner (Magnum Photos), 10 November 1950

Dear Maria,

What am I working on, you inquire?

During the days of the week (what a complicated expression; I’m at that stage where I can’t speak any language properly anymore) I work on the “Piazza d’Italia”. It’s very nice but a little late in the year. Verona, Brunico, and Carpi are done and now it’s Torino, Alessandria, Pisa and Livorno.

Think about what could be done with this, here’s a short description by way of example: Verona “Piazza delle Erbe”, a market every day from morning until evening, connected next door with the “Piazza dei Signori” containing a statue of Dante and the “Cafe Dante” located next to the Place of the Signori… In one corner visitors pray to Maria and then purchase a yellow song bird or a plucked bird for the dinner table, etc..

Nights here are possessed of a wonder­fully sacred mood that includes closed umbrellas at the Maria Fountain and the dimly lit facades of the concrete houses.

That gives you an idea of what form the whole thing will have; maybe it will draw some interest in America.

I hope to drive to Sardinia next week for ECA (Marshall Plan) and spend two weeks working there. My only concern is that the trip to India is getting postponed further and further.
Regards to you and Hans

Sincerely Werner

1950​ Iceland

Reykjavik, 18 August 1950

“Viewed from our vantage point, what is the Marshall Plan anyway? It’s not out of love for Europe or social concern that millions of dollars are being invested; the whole thing is a strategic maneuver to provide funding for what have you: a dearly-paid airport, a shipping port, or some other opportunistic venture.”

Werner Bischof Estate
Am Wasser 55
CH-8049 Zurich

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