24 Photos

A portfolio of twenty-three photos (plus one on the cover), published by Werner Bischof in 1946. He saw it as an overview and summation of his studio work in Zürich during the war years. He purposefully chose the photo of a refugee child in Ticino, Switzerland from 1945 as the final image; the representation of human beings had become increasingly important to him. Manuel Gasser wrote the introduction.

38th Parallel

The 1953 ceasefire line representing the border between North and South Korea after the war.


Bischof considered himself an artist. In 1941 he joined Allianz, a group of progressive Swiss artists that included both Constructivists and Surrealists, established in 1937. His membership in this group undoubtedly strengthened his sense of adventure. The aesthetics characteristic of both movements can be clearly felt in his early work.

“The American Influence on Japan”

“American Influence on Japan” is a story photographed by Werner Bischof on behalf of Magnum (Robert Capa) in 1951. The story examines the ways in which the influence of American culture had become noticeable in Japan, which became a holiday destination for American soldiers serving in Korea after the country surrendered at the end of World War II. Bischof attempted to capture cultural juxtapositions, such as the contrast between classical Kabuki theater and newly introduced striptease performances.

Amstutz & Herdeg

A renowned advertising agency in Zürich, Switzerland, that employed Bischof in 1938. Posters were produced of subjects including St. Moritz and Pontresina, Switzerland. Black-and-white photographs were taken as a starting point, and cut out and hand-colored in collages to form the final posters.

Andriesse, Emmy

1914-1953. Dutch photojournalist. Famous for photographs she secretly took during the occupation of Amsterdam. Member of the Underground Camera group, which documented the occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.


Monthly Swiss women’s magazine that published Bischof’s photos of Generation X and Generation W, among others.

Asilo Italo Svizzero

Children’s home run by the Swiss Workers’ Relief Agency and Swiss Relief in Rimini, Italy. Rosellina Mandel worked there as a teacher and caregiver for war orphans from 1946 to 1949. Asilo Italo Svizzero was also the address to which Bischof addressed his countless letters to Rosellina.


Swiss monthly magazine that published a special edition on Finland through the eyes of Werner Bischof in February 1950.


Town in western Switzerland. Bischof had close friends at Haras Fédéral, the Swiss national stud ranch in Avenches: the veterinarian Dr. Kurt Burri, and directors Jacques and Loyse Baumann. While staying with them, Bischof was able to relax in natural surroundings between his travels across Europe. He spent his time here observing nature, making drawings, and having long discussions with Kurt Burri.

Bao Dai

Bảo Đại (22 October 1913 – 30 July 1997), born Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, was the 13th and final Emperor of the Nguyễn dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam.
From 1926 to 1945, he was Emperor of Annam, which was then a protectorate in French Indochina, covering the central two thirds of the present-day Vietnam. Bảo Đại ascended the throne in 1932.
The Japanese ousted the Vichy French administration in March 1945 and then ruled through Bảo Đại, who he renamed his country “Vietnam”. He abdicated in August 1945 when Japan surrendered. From 1949 to 1955, Bảo Đại was the chief of state of the State of Vietnam (South Vietnam). Bảo Đại was criticized for being too closely associated with France and spending much of his time outside Vietnam.


Hmong (also referred to as Moi in letters and diary entries by Werner Bischof) village in French Indochina, where Bischof spent two weeks in August 1952–an island within the war zone. He created a photo-essay there on the cycle of life of the village community.


Design school founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar Germany in 1919 and later developed further by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Dessau and Berlin, before being dissolved by the Nazis in 1933. The Bauhaus had a lasting influence on art, design, and architecture. Its guiding principle was that functionality and the use of appropriate materials should determine the beauty and style of a product. The Bauhaus movement strongly influenced Bischof’s teacher, Hans Finsler, and its influence may also be felt in Bischof’s early work.

Bettex, Albert

1906-1996. Swiss writer and literary critic, employee of Du magazine. Wrote the text accompanying the Asia issue featuring photos by Werner Bischof, Menschen im Fernen Osten (People of the Far East), July 1953.

Bharat Natyam

A South Indian dance form which the dancer Anjali Hora (featured in the series Generation X) studied at the Kalakshetra Art Center in Madras (now Chennai) and taught at the Bharatiya Bhavan Center in Bombay (now Mumbai).

Bill, Max

1908–1994. Swiss sculptor, architect, printmaker, art theorist, and journalist. Fellow member of the Allianz group along with Bischof. Max Bill visited the Incan citadel Machu Picchu shortly before Bischof. Both shared an enthusiasm for the forms and colors of the ruined city in the Peruvian Andes.

Bischof, Adalbert

1886-1969. Werner Bischof’s father. Worked as a clerk at the pharmaceutical company De Trey in Zürich, and later as a manager at its subsidiary in Germany. He was a keen amateur photographer and experimented alongside his two children in their own family photo lab. Often went on walks in the mountains with his children and observed nature. Adalbert married his second wife, Rosa Klauser, in 1935.

Bischof, Daniel

Born in 1954. Werner and Rosellina Bischof’s son. Lives and works as a psychoanalyst in Zürich.

Bischof, Marco

Born in 1950. Werner and Rosellina Bischof’s son. Visual designer and director of Werner Bischof’s estate.

Bischof, Marianne

1915–2014. Werner Bischof’s sister. Doctor, archaeologist, and world traveler; married Paul Fiechter.

Bischof, Marie (née Schmied)

1887–1931. Werner Bischof’s mother. She was particularly interested in religious and philosophical matters: “Through the numerous conversations that we had with her, she exerted a significant influence on our attitudes toward life and certainly on our later choice of career.” Werner’s sister Marianne Fiechter-Bischof, later said. She died aged forty-four while Werner, fifteen at the time, was at a boarding school in Schiers, Switzerland.

Bischof, Rosellina (née Mandel, later Burri-Bischof)

1925–1986. Werner Bischof’s wife and mother of Daniel and Marco. Managed Werner’s archive, and compiled exhibitions and publications. Also managed the Swiss branch of Magnum Photos in Zürich (1956–68). Married René Burri in 1963 and gave birth to Yasmine (born in 1964) and Olivier (born in 1967). During this period, Rosellina worked with Cornell Capa on the international exhibition The Concerned Photographer (which included Bischof’s photographs), shown at the International Center of Photography, New York; Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; and Schweizerische Stiftung für die Photographie, Zürich.

Black Star

Photo agency and publishing house with which Werner Bischof collaborated until 1949.

Bondi, Inge

Born in 1925. Member of staff in the Magnum office, New York, from 1950 to 1970.

Bourke-White, Margaret

1904-1971. American photojournalist. Founding member of Life magazine. War correspondent covering American troops in Europe; also took photographs in India and Japan.

Bristol, Horace

1908–1997. American Photographer. Bischof met Bristol in Japan and was envious of his and other Life photographers’ technical advantages: they could take test pictures, develop them the same day, and adjust the exposure. In contrast, Bischof had to send his films to Europe to be developed and often had to wait for weeks to find out whether his images had turned out as he wanted.

Burri, Kurt

1916–2006. Werner Bischof’s friend. Worked as a veterinarian in Avenches and emigrated to South America in 1952. Worked in Peru, where Bischof visited him in 1954. Kurt Burri organized the shots for Bischof’s Generation Children in the Peruvian highlands. Burri was the first to learn of Bischof’s death and subsequently organized his funeral in Lima.

Burri, René

1933–2014. Swiss Magnum photographer. Filmed Werner Bischof at the Menschen im Fernen Osten (People of the Far East) exhibition in St. Annahof in Zürich, June 1953. Married Rosellina in 1963 and became father to the two Bischof sons; his two children with Rosellina Burri-Bischof are Yasmine (born 1964) and Olivier (born 1967). Following Rosellina’s death, Burri married Clothilde Blanc in 2000, and the two had a son, Léon (born 1994).


Internationally distributed photography magazine (1922–81), published by C. J. Bucher in Lucerne, Switzerland. The magazine’s editors-in-chief (including Romeo E. Martinez, 1950–1968) turned it into one of the most important publications worldwide. Martinez recognized the significance of Magnum Photos and its independence from the very beginning.

Capa, Robert

1913–1954. Founding member of Magnum Photos. Due to his life experience, Robert Capa, although only three years older, was like an older brother to Bischof. Their almost-simultaneous deaths (Bischof on May 16, 1954; Capa on May 25, 1954) were a hard blow to Magnum.

Cartier-Bresson, Henri

1908–2004. Photographer and founding member of Magnum Photos. Cartier-Bresson worked as a photojournalist in the French sense of the word: he used his Leica to literally keep a journal, a diary of what he saw. Henri Cartier-Bresson felt very connected to Bischof’s world view and had a love of painting.


An ethnic group originating in Indonesia, who today live as a minority in Vietnam and Cambodia. Bischof, fascinated by the ethnic diversity in Asia, sought to gather photographs of each group, which he then showed in his exhibition in St. Annahof in Zürich in 1953. When Bischof visited the village of Barau, Chams came regularly to sell their products at the market.

Centro educativo italo-svizzero (CEIS)

Children’s home run by the Swiss Worker’s Relief Agency and Swiss Relief in Rimini, Italy. Rosellina Mandel worked there as a teacher and caregiver for war orphans from 1946 to 1949. Bischof visited her there 1947.

Conzett & Huber

Printing and publishing house in Zürich. In order to show off the quality of their intaglio printing, they published the cultural magazine Du. Bischof was closely linked to Conzett & Huber; the publishing director Alfred Herzer, in particular, offered him many projects. Bischof was able to borrow a car and color camera from the firm. Bischof’s later books—Japan (1954), Unterwegs (On the way, 1957), and Indios (Indians, 1956), were printed posthumously by Conzett & Huber.

Le Corbusier

1887-1965. Swiss architect, urban planer, and painter. In 1951 Bischof traveled to India on the same plane as Le Corbusier, who was on his way to Chandigarh. They drank a tea together during a stopover in Cairo.

Correspondent Club

The Foreign Correspondent Club—a press club with bars and rooms, for the most part serving as a meeting point and home away from home for many members of the national and international press. Werner Bischof and Rosellina stayed at the Foreign Correspondent Club in Tokyo for several weeks in 1952.

Damodar Valley Project

Site of a major reservoir dam project in northern India intended to control the huge volumes of water generated during the monsoon season. Bischof created a story about Damodar Valley as part of his trilogy on hunger and associated problems. The trilogy included the series “Hunger in Bihar”, “Stahlwerk” (Steelwork), and “Der Staudamm in Damodar Valley” (The Dam in Damodar Valley).

Delpire, Robert

1926-2017. Publisher in Paris and a friend of Bischof’s, with whom he conceived his book, Japan, in 1953. Delpire directed the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris in the 1980s, and in doing so created a significant platform for photography, alongside Cornell Capa in New York (International Center of Photography) and Rosellina Burri-Bischof in Zürich (Schweizerische Stiftung für die Photographie).

Die Weltwoche

Swiss weekly newspaper founded by Karl von Schuhmacher and Manuel Gasser in 1933, modeled on weekly periodicals in France. The publication quickly became well-known thanks to its critical position on Nazism.

Die Woche

Swiss weekly magazine which prominently and expertly published many of Bischof’s most important photo-essays from Asia.

Dien Bien Phu

Place in the north of Indochina (now located in Vietnam) where the French lost a battle against the Vietnamese, led by General Vo Nguyen Giap, on May 7, 1954. This brought an end to French colonial rule in the north of Indochina.


Monthly Swiss cultural magazine and Conzett & Huber’s showcase publication. Its first editor-in-chief was Arnold Kübler, who brought Bischof to Du and employed him as a photographer in 1942. Du published many of Bischof’s shots (May 1946, June 1949, July 1953 and more) and supported him on his travels through Europe between 1945 and 1948. Du provided Bischof with a company car with a built-in darkroom and with a Devine color camera.

Duncan, David Douglas

Born in 1916. American photographer. Werner Bischof met him in Japan. One of David Douglas Duncan’s best-known stories at the time was This is War about the Korean War, published in Life in 1951. Bischof wanted to counterbalance this, and so created a story titled Die Leiden der Zivilbevölkerung (The suffering of the civilian population) about the evacuation of San Jang Ri, a village located between the frontlines.

Duttweiler, Gottlieb

1888–1962. Merchant, founder, and director of the Migros Cooperative Association, a chain of supermarkets. Duttweiler recognized the cultural importance of photography early on and published Werner Bischof’s Our Leave in Switzerland in 1946, a souvenir gift book for American soldiers, as well as Mutter und Kind (Mother and child) in 1949, a photobook given as a gift to members of the Migros cooperative.

Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA)

Economic Cooperation Administration—the official name of the agency that administered the Marshall Plan, the American financial aid initiative to help Europe after World War II. Bischof works on various assignments for ECA, such as in Sardinia and Iceland in 1950.

The End of the Road

The title of the story about Chinese refugees that Bischof shoots in 1952. Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China seized power in China in 1949 and many people left the country. Hundreds of thousands flee to the then-British crown colony of Hong Kong.

Eisner, Maria

1909–1991. First head clerk of Magnum Photos, Paris. Eisner met David “Chim” Seymour and Robert Capa before World War II as head of the agency Alliance Photo. She was the second president of Magnum Photos until Robert Capa took over presidency. Eisner directed the first Magnum office from her apartment on Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré. She introduced Bischof to life as an international photojournalist and taught him the rules of communication with the Magnum office.


Italian weekly magazine founded by Arnoldo Mondadori in the same style as Life, with which Magnum Photos collaborated on a regular basis.

Erwitt, Elliott

Born in 1928. American Magnum photographer, whose works Werner became fond of when scouting for new talent in New York in 1954.

Falk, Hans

1918–2002. Painter and printmaker; Werner Bischof’s friend. Occasionally helped in Bischof’s studio, including with photos of tin soldiers and a soap bubble. The two friends visited the Socialist Youth choir or spent their evenings painting over the propaganda posters of the Fröntler (Swiss Nazi sympathizers).

Family of Man, The

Photo exhibition on the cycle of human life, compiled by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, 1954. With 508 images displayed, it is often referred to as the “mother of all photo exhibitions.” Werner Bischof’s photos are included. The exhibition found a permanent location in Clervaux Castle, Luxembourg.

Famine Story

Story on hunger in India. Published in the most important photography magazines in the world, this essay launched the catastrophic famine into the world press spotlight overnight. It is Werner Bischof’s idea to depict the problem of hunger in the form of a trilogy: 1) Hunger in Bihar 2) Stahl für die Industrie (steel for industry) 3) Nutzbarmachung der Wasserkräfte (utilization of water power). The Food Story, part of the Hunger in Bihar in India, made Werner Bischof known worldwide. Some have even claimed that his photographs in Life moved various politicians to send wheat to India.

Farner, Konrad

1903–1974. Swiss art historian, philosopher, and theologian. His area of research was the relationship between art and society. In particular, he supported the academic examination of Christianity vis-à-vis Marxism. Bischof attended Farner’s lectures with friends in the 1940s.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s tragedy in two parts. Werner Bischof carried Faust, Part Two (1832) in his backpack during his journey through Eastern Europe in 1948.

Finsler, Hans

1891–1972. Founder of the photo class at the Zürich University of the Arts and Werner Bischof’s teacher. Finsler was influenced by the Bauhaus movement and taught his students the principles of the Neues Sehen (New Vision) school, which was characterized by precise depiction of detail and material structure.

Flaherty, Robert

1884–1951. American film director and pioneer of artistic documentary filmmaking. Werner Bischof was enthusiastic about his work and wanted to attempt similar things.

Flückiger, Adolf “Flü”

1917–1998. Printmaker and Werner Bischof’s friend. Worked with him on the printing pavilion for the 1939 national exhibition. With their earnings of five hundred francs, Flü and Bischof planned to open a painting studio in Paris, but their plans were hindered by the outbreak of war. Later Flü helped Bischof on various studio shoots, such as an advertising shoot with fish.


American magazine.

Frank, Robert

Born in 1924-2019. Swiss photographer who emigrated to the United States in 1947. His book The Americans (1958) is a seminal photo-essay on America.

French Indochina

Name for the regions of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during French colonial rule (1887–1954).

Gasser, Manuel

1909–1979. Swiss journalist. Wrote the introduction to Werner Bischof’s portfolio 24 Photos, published in 1946. Became editor-in-chief of Du in 1957.

Generation Children

Magnum group project focusing on children from all over the world. Third follow-up to the successful series Generation X and Generation W. Werner Bischof was in Peru working on Generation Children in 1954 when he took one of his most iconic photograph of the flute player.

Generation W

Magnum group project focusing on women from all over the world and on their new role balancing family and work. Follow-up project to the successful Generation X series. As part of Generation W, Werner Bischof photographed the working woman Carmen Orrego-Salas in Santiago, Chile, in 1954, as a woman who exemplified the successful balance between family and working life.

Generation X

Magnum group project focusing on the “new generation.” Each photographer took a picture of a young woman and a young man aged around twenty. Every young person also filled out the same questionnaire, which collected information on contemporary lifestyles. Werner Bischof chose the dancer Anjali Hora and the businessman Ushakant Ladiwala in India in 1951. In 1952 he photographed the fashion student Michiko Jinuna and the law student Gora Suma in Japan.

Germania Anno Zero (Germany, Year Zero)

Film by Roberto Rossellini about postwar Germany. The images are highly reminiscent of Bischof’s photographs of postwar Europe. Rossellini’s works aligned with Bischof’s ideas and Bischof wanted to meet the director, but they never had the chance to become acquainted.


Bischof encountered American GIs again and again, for example while they were on leave from the Korean War in Tokyo, where they gave American products to dancers as gifts, and received flowers from young girls on the street as a thank you.


Werner Bischof’s studio apartment in Zürich where he lived and worked. Thanks to its large windows, he was also able to use the space as a daylight studio.


Publication of the Schweizer Grafiker Verband (Swiss Graphic Designers). Hans Finsler analyzed his pupil Werner Bischof’s career and creativity, expressing quiet admiration in a short article he wrote for the magazine Graphis (no. 7/8, 1945).

Haas, Ernst “Haasi”

1921–1986. Magnum photographer and Werner Bischof’s friend. Joined Magnum Photos in 1950, shortly after Bischof did.

Harris, Eugene V.

(1913-1978) American photographer. Met Werner Bischof in 1954 in Machu Picchu and took one of the final photos of him. After Bischof’s death, Harris sent a copy of the photo to Rosellina with the following words: “On the last night of my brief friendship with Werner we sat before a fireplace, high in the Andes mountains of Peru, talking photography most of the night. I shall always remember his advice to me ‘to take pictures with your heart.’”

Hartmann, Erich

1922–1999. Magnum photographer. On the occasion of Bischof’s visit to New York, Hartmann shot portraits on the roof of Cornell and Edie Capa’s apartment on Fifth Avenue. Shortly thereafter, Bischof set off for Latin America with Rosellina.

Herzer, Alfred

1903–1981. Publishing director at Conzett & Huber; supported Werner Bischof on many projects. Facilitated his travels across Europe by lending him the company car, covering some of the expenses, and providing him with a Devine color camera as required. Herzer was also good friends with Robert Delpire.

Hess, Gret

Acquaintance of Werner Bischof. Traveled with him to Budapest as a reporter for Swiss Relief (Schweizer Spende) in 1947.

Hmong (or Meo)

An ethnic group from Southeast Asia, members of whom lived in small villages such as Barau when Bischof visited. Bischof was fascinated by the various ethnic groups in Asia, making them a focal point of his 1953 exhibition Menschen im Fernen Osten (People of the Far East) in Zürich.

Hora, Anjali

Indian Bharat Natyam dancer from Bombay (now Mumbai), whom Werner Bischof chose to photograph for the Magnum group project Generation X in 1951. A dancing teacher by profession, Anjali Hora lived with her parents and helped her blind mother in the community library which she had set up, as well as at home.

Huayna Picchu

A mountain peak behind Machu Picchu, Peru. During his stay in the Incan city, Bischof climbed Huayna Picchu searching for the white condor; in the evening, he returned to his hotel overjoyed.

Huber, Max

1919–1992. Graphic Designer and Werner Bischof’s friend. They spent a lot of time together while serving in the military, discussing art and the world in the remote Alpine huts they were supposed to be guarding. After the war, Huber took up residence in Milan.

Hyänen der Schlachtfelder

Hyänen der Schlachtfelder (Vultures of the battlefields) is the title of Werner Bischof’s 1952 photo capturing international press photographers in Korea, on the occasion of the arrival of General Ridgway in Kaesong. The shot is a typical example of Bischof’s inclination to show “the other side,” and simultaneously expresses the fact that he himself did not want to be a reporter.


British magazine that published Werner Bischof’s images in the 1950s.

“Ivory tower”

Term used by Werner Bischof when recollecting the isolated circumstances of his studio in Switzerland during World War II (1939–45).


City in the north of India with large steelworks; symbol of economic growth and social progress. “Founded in 1907, Jamshedji Nassarwanyi Tata wants his steelworks to symbolize the beginning of a new India. Misery, sickness, illiteracy, and corruption have no place in his community.” Photographed as part of Bischof’s documentation of India’s hunger problem.


Book of Werner Bischof’s photographs published by Robert Delpire in summer 1954, shortly after Bischof’s death. The photos from Werner Bischof’s book on Japan gave many Europeans their first photographic impressions of the country.

Jinuna, Michiko

Japanese fashion student who Werner Bischof interviewed and photographed for Generation X in Tokyo in 1951.

Kahlo, Frida

1907-1954. Mexican painter, married to Diego Rivera. Bischof visited her a few weeks before her death.

Kau Sai Chau

Island off Hong Kong where Werner Bischof spent a few days observing and documenting local village life. As in San Jang Ri, Korea, or later in Barau, French Indochina, Bischof repeatedly chose simple village life as the motif for his pictures.

Kimura, Ihei

1901–1974. Japanese photographer and Werner Bischof’s friend. Spent a fortnight showing him the beauties of Kyoto. An unforgettable moment was their participation in the tea ceremony at the Urasenke tea school with Master Sen Tantansai Soshitsu.

Klauser, Rosa

1896–1978. Adalbert Bischof’s second wife, who he married in 1935 and who was a big supporter of Werner’s projects.


Island in South Korea where the United Nations operated the largest reeducation camp, with 110,000 North Korean and 17,000 Chinese prisoners, during the Korean War. The aim was to educate the prisoners, aged between six and sixty-three, about the Western way of life. Despite censorship, Werner Bischof attempted to report critically on the camp.

Kollegium Schweizerischer Photographen

A group of Swiss photographers in the 1950s. An exhibition took place at the Helmhaus in Zürich, with works by Werner Bischof, Walter Läubli, Gotthard Schuh, Paul Senn, and Jakob Tuggener.

Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich (School of Applied Arts)

Educational establishment in Zürich. Werner Bischof studied there from 1932 to 1936, taught by Alfred Willimann (graphic design), Hans Finsler (photography), and Walter Roshardt (drawing). His training in photography as well as in graphic design enabled Bischof to later design his own graphic concepts and exhibitions.

Kübler, Arnold

1890–1983. First editor-in-chief of the cultural magazine Du and a decisive influence on Werner Bischof. He made Bischof a permanent employee of the photography department in 1942. Kübler (after Hans Finsler and Alfred Willimann) was another of Bischof’s mentors, who suggested that he apply his talent as a photographer toward the depiction of the human being.

La Rafale

Name of the armored train operated by the French on the Saigon–Nhatrang line in Indochina. Since the railroad tracks ran through the jungle and the train was often hijacked, soldiers with machine guns and grenade launchers were stationed on the roof of the train. Halfway through the journey, Bischof got off in the village of Barau in order to spend two weeks studying the villagers’ way of life. On the return journey, he witnessed a bomb attack on the train, during which he took his well-known photograph of a girl’s face.


Compact camera (35 mm) with excellent lenses. Oskar Barnack launched the first Leica in 1924. The camera had a revolutionary impact on photojournalism. Werner Bischof used a Leica for many of his shots.


Ocean liner on which Werner Bischof makes the eight-day journey from France to New York in 1953. “Departure from Le Havre: Attendants wait at the foot of the stairs to the dining hall and seat the guests by appearance and age. I am alone, as I have not yet been classified. A mix of ‘high world’ and ‘underworld,’ of businessmen and intellectuals, of blossoming girls and withered ladies, and revived American women returning from Paris as if from a fountain of youth.”
Diary of Werner Bischof, September 1953


Founded in 1936, this American illustrated magazine became a leading proponent of international photojournalism. Images played a central role, with the captions merely serving a supporting role. Life sold five million copies a week in over 120 countries in the 1950s. There were far fewer television programs than there are today, and it was the heyday of photojournalism. Magnum worked closely together with Life. Photo-driven magazines following the same concept were founded around the world.


Capital of Peru. Place of residence and work of Dr. Kurt Burri, Werner Bischof’s friend from Avenches, who had lived in Latin America since 1952. Werner Bischof visited Lima in May 1954 before continuing north to Trujillo and on to the Andes, where he died in an accident on May 16, 1954. Bischof is buried in Lima.


1937-1971. American biweekly general-interest magazine with more of an emphasis on photographs than articles.

Magnum Photos

The first international photographers’ cooperative in Paris and New York. Founded in 1946 by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger, David “Chim” Seymour, and Bill Vandivert. Magnum Photos contacted Werner Bischof in response to his photographs published in Du magazine. In 1949, he joined the cooperative as its first new member.

Mandel, Moses

1883-1938. Rosellina Bischof’s (Werner Bischof’s wife) father. A people’s commisssioner in the Hungarian Soviet Republic. After the fall of the republic, fled via Berlin to Zürich, where he had spent time earlier. Worked as an editor at the communist magazine Der Kämpfer (The fighter). He fought for international peace and against social injustice throughout his life. When he died, at the age of fifty-five, his daughter was thirteen years old.

Mandel, Rosellina

See: Bischof, Rosellina. Daughter of Anna Mandel-Prazak and Moses Mandel.

Mandel-Prazak, Anna

1895–1984. Rosellina Mandel’s mother. Anna Mandel-Prazak came into contact with the socialist workers’ movement thanks to her husband, Moses Mandel, and supported women’s rights.

Mao Zedong

1893–1976. Chinese revolutionary leader and later chairman of the People’s Republic of China. When the Communist Party of China came into power in 1949, many people fled to Hong Kong, among other places. Bischof photographed a story about Chinese refugees in Hong Kong called The End of the Road.

Martinez, Romeo

1911–1990. Journalist and editor with close ties to Magnum Photos. Met Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson during the Spanish Civil War and was active in advocating for the recognition and spread of photography. Editor-in-chief of the international magazine Camera, published by C. J. Bucher in Lucerne, Switzerland, from 1956 to 1964.

Menschen im Fernen Osten (People of the Far East)

Title of Bischof’s Asia exhibition at St. Annahof, Zürich, in May 1953, and of the July 1953 issue of Du. Werner Bischof carefully prepared the presentation of these photographs, taken during his two-year trip across Asia. He incorporated everyday objects brought back from his travels in order to bring the exhibition to life.

Mohini, Ratna “Eli”

1904-1988. Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first wife (1937-67). Known by her artist’s name, Ratna Mohini. A dancer from Java with whom Cartier-Bresson fought for Indonesian independence.

Mondadori, Alberto

1922–1975. Publisher and editor of the Italian magazine Epoca.

Moosbrugger, Bernhard

1925–2004. Swiss photographer. Worked with Bischof in 1952 in Goa, India.

Morath, Inge

1923–2002. Austrian Magnum photographer. Joined Magnum around the same time as Werner Bischof, first as a researcher and later as a photographer.

Morris, John G.

1916-2017. Photo editor for various American magazines. Worked for Magnum Photos in New York as international executive editor from 1953 to 1961. Morris was friends with Bischof and one of the first to learn of Bischof’s death in May 1954.

Mutter und Kind (Mother and child)

Book created by Werner Bischof in 1949 on the theme of the life cycle. In Mutter und Kind, Bischof juxtaposed pictures of various photographers (many from Magnum) with classical artworks. The accompanying text was compiled from diverse historical and contemporary sources. The Migros cooperative association published the book and handed out 60,000 free copies to its members.


The Museum of Modern Art in New York was one of the leading museums to have a photography department in the 1950s. The director of this department, Edward Steichen, was the initiator of the exhibition The Family of Man.

Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity)

Artistic and photographic style which emerged around 1920 and focused on a conscious turn toward the objective world. A significant advocate within the realm of photography is Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897–1966).

Neues Sehen (New Vision)

A new style which emerged in photography in the 1920s, characterized by a precise recording of detail and material stucture. Bischof’s teacher Hans Finsler, influenced by the Bauhaus movement, taught his students about this new technique and its design principles. Bischof perfected this technique during his studio days.

New York Times, The

American daily with a weekly photography supplement often featuring photographs by Werner Bischof in its pages.

The Netherlands

“We are visiting Willem Sandberg, director of the well-known Stedelijk Museum. And the photographers Cas Oorthuys and Emmy Andriesse who, during the occupation of the Netherlands, photographed the food shortage and famine with a camera placed in their coat pockets or shopping bags.” From Bischof’s diary, November 1945


The United States established a military base on Okinawa after defeating Japan in World War II. It is from here that the B-29s later started their uninterrupted bomb attacks on North Korea. “There is something numbing about standing at the start of the runway at dawn and seeing the four-engine bombers taking off. Six hours later they return; the crew is tired, hungry, and sometimes injured by exploding antiaircraft gun shots.”
Werner Bischof, Okinawa, August 1951

Oorthuys, Cas

1908-1975. Dutch photographer and book designer. Resistance fighter during World War II; produced for forged identity cards and other documents. Went into hiding in September 1944 and began documenting the occupation along with other photographers, including Emmy Andriesse.


Roberto Rossellini’s second film (after Rome, Open City) made in postwar Italy (1946). Werner Bischof saw the film in Stockholm in 1948 during his final trip through Europe, and his fascination with Rossellini’s work was reignited.

Paper flowers or Water Flowers

Japanese surprise for children, hidden in a shell. If one places the shell in a glass of water and waits a while, the glue begins to dissolve, and the shell opens spectacularly and a paper flower begins to expand in the water. Werner Bischof received one of these shells from his father as a child. He was delighted to rediscover these paper flowers in Japan.

Paris Match

Founded in 1949 as the successor to the news magazine Match. France’s largest magazine, with a circulation of one million in 1952.

Peña de Aguila

Place level with Trujillo in the Peruvian Andes, where the Chevrolet station wagon carrying Werner Bischof, Ali de Szepessy-Schaurek and the driver Luis Delgado fell off a cliff on May 16, 1954. None of them survived. Werner Bischof is buried in Lima.


Name of the ship on which Werner Bischof and Rosellina traveled from Japan to Hong Kong in May 1952.


Photographic technique in which an object is directly exposed on photographic paper, meaning there is no negative. Photograms were made famous by artists such as Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy. Bischof also tried out this technique during the years when he worked in a studio (1936–45).

Photographers’ Rights

As Romeo E. Martinez, editor in chief of Camera, put it, “Robert Capa had a fixed idea which would prove to be one of the most sensible ideas in the history of photography: the photographer is nobody if he or she does not own the rights to his or her own negatives. Capa and his friends pioneered copyright for photographers, and thereby awarded their profession a degree of freedom, transforming dependent photographers into independent artists.”

Picture Post

A photojournalistic magazine published in the United Kingdom from 1938 to 1957. Werner Bischof’s work was published in Picture Post.

Queen Elizabeth II

The British queen. Werner Bischof worked on a story of her coronation alongside with other photographers from Magnum Photos in June 1953.

R & R

Abbreviation of “rest and recreation,” a term used by the U.S. army to refer to leave granted to active soldiers. During the Korean War, Tokyo was an R & R destination for the American army.


Town in Italy; home to the orphanage run by Schweizer Arbeiterhilfswerk and Swiss Relief. Rosellina Mandel worked as a teacher and caregiver of war orphans in Asilo Italo Svizzero from 1946 to 1949. Werner Bischof visited her there in 1947.

Rodger, George

1908–1995. Magnum photographer and founding member of Magnum Photos. Frequent extended stays in Africa in the 1950s.

Rolland, Romain

1866–1944. French novelist, art historian, and philosopher. Received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915. Werner Bischof attended his talks.  Impactful figure whom Bischof admired greatly.


A twin-lens reflex camera in a 6 x 6 cm format, introduced by Franke & Heidecke in 1928. The photographer holds the camera in front of himself at waist level and looks down into the viewfinder, which is mounted on top. This allows a deeper camera angle and the photographer can work more discreetly than with a compact camera, which is usually held directly in front of the eye. Many of Werner Bischof’s photos were taken with a 6x6cm format camera.

Roshardt, Walter

1897–1966. Swiss painter and draftsman. Bischof’s drawing professor at the School of Applied Arts in Zürich. Roshardt was appointed to this position in 1924. He taught generations of students over forty years, exerting a lasting influence on them thanks to his tireless enthusiasm and remarkable personality.

Rosner, Charles

British publisher at Sylvan Books. Friend of Werner Bischof, Robert Delpire, and Alfred Herzer. Publisher of English-language editions of Japan (1954) and The World of Werner Bischof (1959).

Rossellini, Roberto

1906–1977. Italian neorealist film director, highly respected by Werner Bischof. Rome, Open City (1945) and Paisan (1946) focused on post-World War II Italy, while Germany, Year Zero (1948) was set in Berlin. His visual language is strongly reminiscent of Bischof’s photographs of Europe after the war. Rossellini’s films were in keeping with Bischof’s ideas about form and content. He often considered suggesting working with Rossellini, in order to familiarize himself with filmmaking, but the two never met.

Rukmini Devi Arundale

1904-1986. Well-known Indian Bharat Natyam dancer and Anjali Hora’s role model. 1936 founded  Kalakshethra (The International Academy of Arts).

San Jang Ri

A “forgotten village” located between the frontlines of North and South Korea on the 38th parallel. The South Korean army wanted to evacuate the village situated between battle lines, but many of the inhabitants wished to stay. Werner Bischof accompanied them and put together a photo-essay, which he published as a humanistic antithesis to David Douglas Duncan’s war journalism chronicle This Is War.

Scheidegger, Ernst

1923-2016. Photographer, filmmaker, publisher, and friend of Bischof. Scheidegger often worked with Bischof in his darkroom and lived in the same building. In the morning, the two bachelors both jogged to the nearby Uetliberg mountain near Zürich. Their favorite post-jog breakfast was eggs with marsala. Later, Bischof and Scheidegger sought to shoot film projects for Magnum Photos in various countries; these plans, however, were never realized. Their final joint work was Japan.


An electricity company founded in France in 1926. It expanded to the US in 1929 and entered the oil industry. Jean de Menil, the company director at the time in Houston and a friend of Henri Cartier-Bresson, provided Bischof with the financial support necessary for his planned journey by jeep across North and South America.

Schulthess, Emil

1913–1996. Swiss photographer and graphic designer for the magazine Du, who designed Du’s logo. Traveled with Werner Bischof in a vehicle with a built-in darkroom to France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Holland in 1945, in order to document the postwar rebuilding of Europe for Du’s May 1946 edition.

Seymour, David “Chim”

1911–1956. Magnum photographer and founding member of Magnum Photos.

Spooner, Leonard

1901–1985. Editor-in-chief of the British magazine Illustrated (1939–53).

Square Dancing

Traditional American folk dance. Square dancing was taught in the reeducation camp of Koje-do in South Korea with the aim of helping prisoners adapt to the Western way of life.

St. Annahof

Department store on Zürich’s Bahnhofstrasse, where Werner Bischof opened his exhibition Menschen im Fernen Osten (People of the Far East) in May 1953.

Standard Oil

An American oil company which awarded Werner Bischof numerous contracts. These included his work documenting the new highways in America, for which he traveled across the entire country (published as “Bold New Roads” in the company’s in-house publication the Lamp, March 1954). Standard Oil also promised Bischof regular financial support for his planned trip by jeep across North America and South America.

Steichen, Edward

1879–1973. American photographer and initiator of the photo exhibition The Family of Man. Director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Japanese wrestling sport. “Yesterday I went with friends to the Japanese sumo wrestlers. For purification purposes, salt is scattered afresh before the start of a match. Initially the whole thing looked totally beastly, since they crouch like animals on the floor and make grunting noises. Their faces remain stoic and concentrated for an undefined length of time as they commune with one another before pouncing upon each other like two lions. The most appealing kind of battle that I’ve ever seen.” Letter to his wife Rossellina

Swiss Relief (Schweizer Spende, Dono Svizzero, or Don Suisse)

Swiss aid organization, also known as Schweizer Spende, Dono Svizzero, or Don Suisse. Swiss Relief (a sub organisation of the Red Cross) was founded after World War II in order to alleviate the enormous scale of poverty in Europe. Werner Bischof documented their work, in particular their numerous children’s villages for war orphans. His status as an “official” helped him to cross the various zones and borders.

Szepessy-Schaurek, Ali de

1921–1954. Swiss-Hungarian geologist whom Werner Bischof reencountered by chance in Chez Victor, a bar on the Plaza San Martín in Lima. Szepessy invited Bischof to travel with him to a gold mine near the Amazon. He died in the same car crash as Bischof.

Taconis, Kryn

1918-1979. Dutch Magnum photographer known for his integrity and compassion. He emigrated to Toronto in 1959.


River that flows through present-day Ukraine, Romaine, Hungary, Slovakia, and Serbia vulnerable to flooding. Werner Bischof visited its flood plain in January 1948.


“Trümmerfrauen” was the term used in Germany after World War II to refer to the women who helped to clear away rubble and collect bricks from ruined buildings. This was the only way of gathering construction supplies for new buildings. Thus the “Trümmerfrauen” became the heroines of German reconstruction.

U.S. Camera Annuals

American magazine in which Werner Bischof published his work. Each year between 1935 and 1972 the U.S. Camera Publishing Corp. published a hardbound book titled U.S Camera Annual that combined significant news photos and fine art photos taken that year. 

United Nations

Werner Bischof placed the following text from the preamble to the Charter of the United Nations of 1945 at the start of the May 1946 issue of Du: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women . . .”


Abbreviation for Viet Nam Cong San (Vietnamese communists).

Viet Minh

Abbreviation for Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi (League for the independence of Vietnam). A Vietnamese independence movement under communist leadership, founded by Ho Chi Minh in southern China in 1941. Its military units waged a guerilla war against the Japanese occupation forces from 1941 to 1945 and against the French colonial powers from 1946 to 1954.

Vorios Hellas

Name of the ship on which Werner Bischof accompanied the transport of prefabricated barracks, supplied by the Swiss Relief (Schweizer Spende) from Genoa to Greece. Werner Bischof loaded his car onto the ship and learned from the crew how to navigate using a sextant, with help. Before docking in Greece, the ship had to negotiate a minefield left over from World War II. Its arrival in Preveza also became an adventure.

Willimann, Alfred

1900–1957. Werner Bischof’s professor of graphic design at the Zürich School of Applied Arts. Along with Hans Finsler, Willimann was an important mentor for Bischof with regards to both graphic design and work ethic. After completing his training, Bischof moved into an atelier directly beneath Willimann’s on the Spielweg 7 in Zürich, remaining there for a few years.

World War I and II

Werner Bischof was born in 1916, in the middle of World War I (1914–18), in which Switzerland remained neutral. Shortly after Bischof completed his training at the School of Applied Arts in Zürich he decided that he wanted to move to Paris, World War II began (1939–45). During the war years, Werner Bischof served as a soldier and worked as a photographer in his studio. Immediately after the end of the war in 1945, Werner Bischof set off to explore Europe by bicycle.

Zürcher Illustrierte

Swiss magazine published by Conzett & Huber from 1930 to 1941. Arnold Kübler was the final editor-in-chief during this period. Conzett & Huber sold Zürcher Illustrierte to Ringier in 1941, and from then on the editorial team worked for the newly established cultural magazine Du.

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