Art & Photography

René Burri: Impossible Reminiscences

Phaidon release a collection of the Magnum photographer’s lesser known colour images

Rene Burri is best known for his striking monochrome pictures, in a career that has spanned more than 50 years and given us some of the most iconic images of the last century. A member of Magnum Photos agency since 1959, his work has graced the most distinguished publications the world over.

Impossible Reminiscences collates his lesser known, but no less thrilling, colour prints, bringing together more than 130 pictures that have been shot alongside the black and whites throughout his professional life. For many photographers it is either one or the other, but Burri has been a master in both for many years with colour contributions to Life, Look and The Sunday Times supplement. Researched and edited over a period of eight years, the book presents Burri’s personal selection and thoughts on each picture. Hans-Michael Koetzle, in an excellent essay within the book, says – “Burri’s colour work is to a large extent worldly, devoted to life, full of curiosity about other ways of life and cultures and their colour palettes. It also shows a distinct degree of political interest. The use of colour in his photographs is never the result of purely formal intentions. A social, political and historical message almost always resonates, which often only becomes apparent through the location of the photograph.”

It is a superb collection, wonderfully packaged by Phaidon who consistently do these books so well. The range of Burri’s curiosity and breadth of his essential humanity and intelligence is consistently present across any subject to which he turns his lens.

Watch Burri discuss six of his most iconic images in an Anthony Austin-directed film HERE

René Burri: Impossible Reminiscences is out now through Phaidon. Click the gallery to see images in full