Sao Paulo, 1960 by René Burri

“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

Santiago de Cuba


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