View Full Version : Discussing a Werner Bishof Photograph

Bill Mitchell
01-17-2007, 05:29 PM

Bill Mitchell
01-17-2007, 05:42 PM
I spy 11 cameras. Two Leicas, Two Bell & Howell DR(?) movie cameras, one Rollei, one Contax (Nikon?), two Graphics, one big square shiny movie thingie (Cine-Kodak?), and two hidden behind arms. What did I miss?

01-17-2007, 05:51 PM
great photo. I like the way it creates great curiosity about what is going on where the his camera is not pointing. Is it a general annoucing a great victory, or a movie actress giving a USO tour? And it show how smart the one fellow is who is wearing his helmet!

Allowing some open sky in the image is important to the comic aspect of the photo. One can imagine the need to squeeze in tight if it was indoors, but the addition of the sky makes the tightness of the group of photographers even more hilarious.

I supose "decisive moment" would apply to this photo. The range of activities, from putting in a new flash bulb, taking notes, movie camera, et al, makes the photo more interesting.


01-17-2007, 05:52 PM
Bill. A great range of cameras which I think give this shot a certain unique quality. It's as if it identifies a short period of time when this range of camearas might have appeared in the same shot. It could never be replicated. My guess is early to mid 1950s.

The photogs all seem to be dressed the same way. Are they professional full time press men? My guess is not. Military maybe? I get the impression they are not rivals but maybe a fairly close knit group as you's get in the military.

What are they about to photograph or just have photographed?

The name Werner Bishof gove me no clues as I have never heard of him.

I am interested to hear more about it. Thanks for posting.


01-17-2007, 06:36 PM
became known photographing post WWII Europe. I would guess the photo was during the Korean War. he is known as the most important Swiss photographer at the time.

Another spelling of his name is Bischof. A Swiss photographer/photojournalist, joined Magnum (SP?) Photo in 1949. Died in a car accident in 1954 in Peru. He worked with Henri Cartier-Bresson, so my guess of decisive moment could be correct.

Info from Goggle -- use the spelling Bischof for better results.


bruce terry
01-17-2007, 07:16 PM
Katzenjammer Kids with Kameras comes to mind ... but these folks probably know what they're doing.


Bill Hahn
01-17-2007, 07:31 PM
Werner Bischoff is one of my favorite photographers....there is a quote from a letter of his in Russell Miller's "Magnum" which is amazingly prescient about society and the human condition.

There is another photograph of his that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. In the foreground, a monument to Martin Luther, and in the background, the ruins of a German City after WWII.

01-17-2007, 07:36 PM
The great NYC press reporter, Jimmy Breslin, became a significant observer of the zeitgeist by turning away from the object of 'the story' and writing about the people who were affected by it. This Bischof 'graf has a similar sensibility. Who knows what the story was being reported; we are intent on the photogs who covered it. Not really 'in the moment' regarding the news event, but far more universally interesting.