Born in Zürich in 1916, Bischof became an apprentice of Robert Capa after he had concluded his training at the Zürich College of Applied Arts. Aside from its founding members, Bischof was the first member of Magnum Photography, one of the first photography cooperatives that, until today, has remained the icon and preserver of humanist photography as it was established by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Bischof, however, soon grew more and more tired of the magazines´ superficiality and their lust for scandals.
“I was driven to get to know the true face of the world. Our good and well-fed life took away our perception of the outrageous needs existing beyond our border” , Werner Bischof wrote. His diary entries and his letters still evidence his feeling of social responsibility as well as his humanist commitment. The connection between quality and ethics in his work established a new approach to photography and a number of his images became part of the collective memory.