Swiss photographer Werner Bischof (1916–1954) studied photography with Hans Finsler in his native Zurich at the School for Arts and Crafts, then opened a photography and advertising studio. In 1942 he became a freelancer for Du magazine, which published his first major photo essays. Bischof received international recognition after the publication of his 1945 reportage on the devastation caused by the Second World War.
In the years that followed, Bischof traveled in Italy and Greece for Swiss Relief, an organization dedicated to postwar reconstruction. He photographed the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz for Life magazine and the following year joined Magnum Photos with the founding members.
Disliking the “superficiality and sensationalism” of the magazine business, he devoted much of his working life to looking for order and tranquility in traditional culture. In 1954, he traveled through Mexico and Panama, and then on to a remote part of Peru, where he was engaged in making a film. Bischof died in a road accident in the Andes at the age of 38.