“Did I know those men were there when I took that photograph? No.I went up there out of curiosity.I remember taking the elevator to the roof.Buildings weren’t guarded in those days; they didn’t have guardians as they have now.It was a question of getting to the top and knocking on the door.And then saying ‘Excuse me. Excusez-moi, ce que je peux faire une photo? Desculpe-me, posso tirar uma foto?’…I walked out onto the terrace and at that moment those guys came from nowhere and I shot five images.In those days Henri Cartier-Bresson limited us to lenses from 35mm to 90mm.When I showed him the photos he said, ‘Brilliant René!’I went outside and shouted ‘Hah!’He heard me and said ‘What was that?’I said, ‘Nothing, never mind.’The lens I used was 180mm – I never told him!”
René Burri passed away earlier this year.
Here is an image by Arjan Harbers in Santiago de Cuba