For those of you who haven’t heard of photographer René Burri, it’s likely that the last time you spun a postcard rack one of his iconic black and white shots would have spun right past your eyes. René Burri helped shape the history of photography in the 20th century and throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s was known for always having two cameras strung around his neck. As he admits, he led a double life but not in the usual way: “One in black and white and one in colour.”
What us Topshop girls love about Burris’ work is that it’s both a document of history and a piece of art. While one of our favourites shots shows a group of men on a rooftop in Sao Paulo while the traffic on the street below hurries past, there’s his world-famous shot of Che Guevara smoking a big fat cigar and a whole variety of photo essays and portraits of impressive faces, including Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Le Corbusier and Yves Klein that appeared in magazines of the times from Life to Geo and Stern.
Whether a monochrome Matador in all his glory, or a colorful sun-drenched street Havana street of gleaming in the sun, we know you’ll love Burri’s work. This summer, he’s going back to his roots – his hometown of Zurich – where he’ll be exhibiting 50 years of his work in Switzerland’s leading design and visual communication museum Museum für Gestaltung.
To celebrate his 80th birthday, the museum is paying homage to his life’s work and we can’t wait to explore the unknown works of this great Swiss photographer’s creative oeuvre. An oeuvre which will always live a second life; on postcards that will capture peoples’ imaginations wherever they may come across them around the world.