Magnum Photos announced with great sadness that René Burri passed away earlier today at the age of 81. He had been involved with Magnum since 1955, upon the recommendation of Werner Bischof. He was a member since 1959. René Burri was famous for his portraits of icons of the 20th Century including Che Guevara and Picasso, he was also known for his artistic strength as a photojournalist and his architectural photography, with his study of Le Corbusier being one of the best known.
Just last year, in June, Leica Camera honored René Burri for his life’s work. At that time Leica Camera wrote,
“The Swiss photographer René Burri is considered to be one of the best known and most respected photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries. His portfolios shot as a photojournalist at political hot spots around the world, for example of the divided and later reunited city of Berlin, and evocative portraits like those of the Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara with a cigar, the sculptors and painters Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti or the architect Le Corbusier founded his fame. Today, some of his images stand as valuable documents of contemporary history. And now, Leica Camera AG honors the lifework of the 80-year old Leica photographer, who has been a member of the Magnum agency for over fifty years, with the Leica Hall of Fame Award.”
Martin Parr, President of Magnum Photos said,
"Not only was he one of the great post war photographers, he was also one of the most generous people I have had the privilege to meet. His contribution to Magnum and his unrivalled ability to tell stories and entertain us over this time will be part of his enormous legacy...
Our thoughts and best wishes go out to his family."