Portraits in Motion; from Suez to Tiananmen, Rene Burri Was There

By Thomas, Dana | Newsweek International, February 16, 2004 | Go to article overview

Portraits in Motion; from Suez to Tiananmen, Rene Burri Was There


Thomas, Dana, Newsweek International


Byline: Dana Thomas

As a child growing up in Zurich in the 1940s, Rene Burri dreamed of becoming a documentary-film maker. But there were no film schools in Switzerland back then, so he enrolled at the School of Arts & Crafts to study photography. He hasn't stopped shooting since. Burri has covered nearly every major international conflict since the 1950s, and his pictures have appeared in Life, Look, London's Sunday Times Magazine, Paris Match and others. Now the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie in Paris has mounted a sweeping retrospective entitled "Rene Burri: Photographs" (through April 18) that traces Burri's career from his first snapshot, at 13, of Winston Churchill in a convertible. "The camera has always been a magic wand for me," Burri says, "giving me access to places where I could try new experiments."

Judging from the show, those experiments have been an unqualified success. The pictures narrate a visual history of the second half of the 20th century, from the Suez War in 1956 to the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989. It's difficult to see a theme in Burri's work: he's obviously a free spirit who likes to push the limits of photojournalism. Yet he can be extremely conservative; in all of his war pictures, for example, there is not one cadaver. What holds the show together is two recurring elements--his precise, graphic compositions and his filmmaker's eye for detail and motion.

The first was learned. While at the School of Arts & Crafts, Burri studied with Hans Finsler, a follower of the 1920s New Objectivity movement, who taught his students how to organize their work using distinguishing lines and visual relationships. Some of Burri's most beautiful images, such as "Men on a Roof, Sao Paulo, 1960," are studies of graphically organized chaos, with distinct layers and sharp lines.

The second--his gift for seeing life from a filmmaker's point of view--was innate. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Portraits in Motion; from Suez to Tiananmen, Rene Burri Was There
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.