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René Burri : The Germans

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In 1959, a young man of twenty-six captured a group of children in a Cologne street, a very powerful photographic composition. It’s probably summer; we feel the heat. Everything is there, everything that makes cubism, poetry, the modernity of what a real image is. We are almost in the same atmosphere as the photographs of Helen Levitt in New York. A year earlier, publisher Robert Delpire published one of the key books in the history of photography: The Americans, by Robert Frank, an iconic book of the power of photographic language. Five years later, in 1963, this same publisher published a second book just as essential: Les Allemands, by René Burri; we can never thank him enough. But what makes the Americans – admittedly an absolute masterpiece – constantly cited, while the Germans are rarely mentioned? In fact, as soon as we talk about the United States – a country hated by so many people in Europe for no reason -, the interest manifests itself immediately: whether in literature through Jack Kerouac for example, while Nicolas Bouvier is less known...

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