Ché, Wars and Art: The Life of René Burri

Over on DiePresse.com they're running a piece called, "Ché, Wars and Art: The Life of René Burri" (in German). A story about the Swiss Magnum photographer René Burri and his trusted Leica M2 (produced from 1958 to 1967 - his is from 1962). Ironically, he "scratched off" his Red Dot to deter thieves; something some of us might be familiar with... In any event, he plans to auction the camera on May 23, 2014 in Wetzlar, Germany for the 100th birthday of Leica Camera. If you're not familiar with René Burri, you may recall some of his photos; the picture of Ché Guevara smoking a cigar from 1963 perhaps. Or the photo of Picasso at a bullfight. In fact, the 2014 LFI Calendar features 12 of his photos!

Translation to English (via Google):

The Swiss has written with the image Chés with cigar or Picasso at a bullfight photo story. Now he shows his photos in Vienna.

It is a camera that has seen the world. A Leica M2, built in 1962. The red dot, the hallmark, René Burri has scraped a long time. To protect his camera from thieves. And because he had paid for his camera, wanted to make an advertisement for the manufacturer, as he says. Soon someone will pay for this camera again. Probably tens of thousands of euros.

Finally, René Burri, the great Swiss Magnum photographer, brought his old Leica Peter Coeln, founder of the West and Ostlicht galleries to Vienna. And that she wants 23 May be auctioned at an auction on the occasion of the 100-year anniversary in Leica Wetzlar, Germany. The ideal value of the camera is probably not to pay, after all she has, René Burri worn for decades around the neck. He had this Leica in hand, when he was in Havana for three hours Ché Guevara photographed in 1963, as he spoke to a journalist. His image of Ché with the cigar was a million times reproduces an icon. It says Burri, he had back when he switched in the Industry Ministry in Havana, no idea that one of these images would be so famous.

Life in color and black-and-white

For in the moment in which he pulls the trigger, he never knew whether it is a good picture. And finally he had to "fight like a lion" that the image with the cigar is ever printed, and then there was also severely curtailed. The Leica was created with the image Burri had 40 years there. In wars, with artists such as Pablo Picasso, whom he photographed while visiting a bullfight, with Le Corbusier, Alberto Giacometti, Yves Klein, as this naked, young women with color painted.

Is it difficult for him to part with this camera? "No. It's like having children, since one must also be separated, "says Burri in the gallery Ostlicht. The Swiss - today he lives in Paris - has recently come to Vienna to open an exhibition of his paintings. In the gallery Ostlicht in the former anchor bread factory in Vienna's favorite famous black and white photos will be displayed next to largely unpublished color photographs by mid-March Burris. "Double life" is the show, two lives, one in black and white, one in color.

Burri is finally one of the few photographers who have just photographed in color or black and white. And that was considered vulgar, as cheesy in a time when color photography. Even with Magnum, he says, is color long "almost frowned upon" was. Burri is since 1959 a full member of the prestigious Magnum agency. He began to photograph, born 1933, already in 1946. Back when Winston Churchill is driven by Zurich in an open car, pushing the 13-year-old from Burri with his flip camera. Already this photo went round the world. From 1950 he settled in Zurich train to the photographer, from the mid-fifties he works worldwide as a photojournalist for magazines such as "Life", "look", "star", "Geo".

Documented war, world politics, everyday scenes, portraits of artists. He was, he says, probably the most widely traveled of the Magnum photographer. Once he had the goal, with his pictures to improve the world. So he came to Beijing and São Paulo, Tokyo and Texas, he has held street canyons in New York, combat missions in Vietnam, at Sinai or the Suez Canal. And everywhere Burri was, he had at least two cameras here: one for black and white and one for color photography.

The camera as a notebook

He knows both Metiers showing the exhibition of the Museum of Design Zurich, which is now on display in Vienna: his black and white series show nuanced portraits, games with prospects, shades, some famous Burris picture series, supplemented by its color images . Most individual photographs that have surprising perspectives or compositions, and where the use of color follows strict laws. The homage to the 80s shows how he approaches and themes, draws his life after photographers. His many lives. In bright colors and without, as a documentarian of wars, as a photojournalist, as an artist.

Still bears Burri always a Leica around his neck. Today it is a digital one. "It's amazing, the digital," he says, finally, he no longer need to think about movies, can store 1500 photos on a map. And so he photographed still. The audience, in which he sits, while talking to the exhibition opening. Old friends who stop by. The tray with bun, which is placed on the table during the interview. "This camera," he says, raises his Leica in his hand, "today is like my notebook, I'm still interested!"