5 Lessons Werner Bischof Has Taught Me About Photography

“I felt compelled to venture forth and explore the true face of the world. Leading a satisfying life of plenty had blinded many of us to the immense hardships beyond our borders.” – Werner Bischof

Who was he?

Werner Bischof was one of the first members of Magnum, but tragically died in his early 30s. He still in a short period time made a great body of work.

Personal Lessons

Why I love Werner’s photos:

  1. Simple yet elegant, classic, timeless compositions.
  2. Many 6×6 (square format) photos shot on a TLR (Rolleiflex) camera, which meant lots of unique low-angle compositions.
  3. Lots of human soul in the pictures
  4. Both street photography and experimentation with more abstract photography as well.
  5. Interesting high angle/high perspective pictures.

Composition lessons

Some composition lessons and sketches — made on iPhone Xs and Procreate Pocket app:

1. Leading lines

2. Horizontal figure, vertical figure, arabesque composition

3. Dynamic tension of multiple subjects looking in different directions, as well as different three-dimensional spaces

4. Walking into horizon, single subject, leading lines, sense of scale

INDIA. State of Rajasthan. Town of Jaipur. The Observatory. Designed by astronomer Jai SINGH (1699-1744), the observatory was built over a period of 16 years. It was finished in 1734. December 1952.
INDOCHINA. Barau, a Meo (or Hmong) village. 1952.

SOUTHERN INDIA. The Kathakali dance school. Putting make-up onto a boy performing as a Krishna. 1952.

MEXICO. 1954.

SOUTH KOREA. Kaesong. 1952. International Press photographers covering the Korean War.

ZŸrich. Photographie de studio.

Crocodile in the zoo, New York City, USA 1954

ITALY. Milan. July 27th, 1946. “Piazza del Duomo,” Duomo (main cathedral) square. 200,000 people demonstrate against the separation of the Province of Trieste from Italy.

HUNGARY. Budapest. “Heroes of yesterday”. 1947.
GERMANY. Region of Baden-Württemberg. Town of Freiburg im Breisgau. A man walks through the destroyed city looking for food. 1945.
ITALY. Campania region. Town of Naples. 1946.

GREECE. 1946.
Village of Corinth.
GREECE. Athens. 1946.
HUNGARY. Gipsy circus. 1947.