Werner BischofClaude Cookman

Swiss-born Werner Bischof (1916-54) was an outstanding photojournalist of the post-war years. When his career was cut short by his untimely death, aged 38, in a car accident in the Andes, he was a member of the prestigious photo agency Magnum, and his work was sought after by numerous international news magazines.

He began his career in Zürich as an advertising photographer. Unable to remain a passive observer, it was the destruction wreaked by World War II that led him into photojournalism, his mission taking him to India, Korea, Vietnam, Mexico, the United States and Peru. He believed that reportage photography could raise awareness and thereby effect real change to bring about a better world.

Photography is the visual medium of the modern world. It pervades our lives and shapes our perceptions. 55 is an ongoing series of beautifully produced, pocket-sized books that explore all aspects and styles of photography. They celebrate the world's most important photographers from the spheres of art, photojournalism, science, street photography, fashion photography and travel photography.

Each volume of 128 pages focuses on an individual master's life work and its development. It features 55 of their key works presented chronologically with an accessible introduction and critical commentaries, telling both the photographer's story and the story of the world that shaped their views.

At specially low prices, 55 paperbacks offer an irresistible look at modern life from some of the greatest ever photographers.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Size: 156 × 136 mm (6 1/8 × 5 3/8 in)
  • Pages: 128 pp
  • Illustrations: 55 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714840413

Claude Cookman earned a doctorate in the History of Photography from Princeton University before working as a journalist for 18 years. Since 1990 he has taught History of Photography at Indiana University.

'Elegantly designed, beautifully printed ... and sensitively laid out ... the choice of images is irreproachable ... Even if the series were to stop dead right now, it would already merit an honourable mention in publishing history ... the temptation to keep on collecting the whole set will no doubt afflict many.' (Independent)

'Phaidon 55s are handsome, pocket-sized editions with - you guessed it - 55 key works of one of the 20th century's iconic photographers. And because they cost just £4.95, the idea is you can take them - and even leave them - anywhere: on the table in the coffee shop, or poking suggestively out of your corduroy jacket pocket.' (Financial Times)

'The books are aimed beyond the 'photography buff' to a wider audience. Photography fans won't be disappointed, though: each book contains 55 images, so there's space to include lesser-known gems among the classic.' (Independent on Sunday)