Quote: "I saw my job as providing documentation. I'm certainly not a storyteller in the way that a novelist is a storyteller. Reportage was not the sophisticated thing then that it is today."
Erich Lessing joined Magnum Photos in 1950 and is currently a Magnum Contributor.

Erich Lessing

Austrian, b. 1923

Born in Vienna, Erich Lessing was the son of a dentist and a concert pianist. In 1939, before Lessing finished high school, Hitler's occupation of Austria forced him to emigrate to Israel (then British Mandate Palestine). His mother remained in Vienna and died in Auschwitz. Lessing studied at Haifa's Technical College, before working on a kibbutz; after his time as a soldier he also drove a taxi for a living.

During the Second World War, Lessing served in the British Army as an aviator and photographer. He returned to Vienna in 1947. He worked as a reporter and photographer for the Associated Press and was invited to join Magnum by David 'Chim' Seymour, one of the agency's founders. He became a full member of Magnum in 1955. Lessing covered political events in North Africa and Europe, and reported on the onset of the Communist period in Eastern Europe for Life, Epoca, Picture Post and Paris-Match. His pictures of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution serve as a record of the hope and euphoria of the first days of the revolt, so soon to be followed by the pain and punishment of its brutal suppression.

Lessing later became disillusioned with photojournalism as an agent for change. From the mid-1950s he turned to art, science and historical subjects. He specialized in large-format color photography, publishing more than forty books and establishing himself worldwide as a photographer of culture.

Having taught photography in Arles, at the Venice Biennale, in Ahmedabad in India as a UNIDO expert, at the Salzburg summer Academy and at the Academy of Applied Art in Vienna, Lessing has been honored with numerous awards. He is a member of UNESCO's International Commission of Museums, and CIDOC, its information branch. He lives in Vienna.


Technical College, Haifa, Israel


1997 Grosser ?sterreichischer Staatspreis, Austria
1992 Vienna’s silver medal, for outstanding services to the city, Austria
1992 Imre Nagy medal, bestowed by the President of the Hungarian republic for his work
during the Hungarian revolution 1956, Hungary
1976 Culture-Award of the city of Vienna, Austria
1970 Austrian Karl Renner prize for outstanding cultural achievements, Austria
1966 Prix Nadar (for the book L'Odyssée), France
1956 American Art Editors’ Award, USA


2006 The Hungarian Revolution in 1956 - Budapest Historical Museum, Budpest, Hungary;
Vienna Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria; Nooderlicht Gallery Groningen,
Netherlands; Leica Gallery New York, USA; Prudential Center, Boston, USA;
University of Southern California, USA; Mairie du Xe arrondissement,
Paris, France; Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2005 Free ! Liberation and Sovereignty Austria 1945-1955 - Hoover Institution, Stanford
University, Ca, USA
2005 Von der Befreiung zur Freiheit - Schwarzenberg Kazerne, Salzburg/Wals Austria
2003 People Known and Unknown - Photofusion Gallery, London, UK
2003 Arresting Time - Dimbola Lodge Museum, Isle of Wight, UK
2003 Photographien der 50er Jahre - Museum Modern Kunst, Passau, Germany
2002 Erich Lessing Photography - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria;
Circulo de bella artes, Madrid, Spain
2000 Erich Lessing : 50 anni di fotografia - Bologna, Italy
1999 Erich Lessing - School of Art Gallery and Museum, University of Wales, Aberystwyth,


2006 Revolution in Hungary, The 1956 Budapest Uprising, Thames & Hudson, USA;
(Budapest 1956 : La Révolution), Adam Biro, France
2005 From Liberation to Liberty, An Austrian Photo Album 1945-1960
(Von der Befreiung zur Freiheit, ein Photoalbum 1945-1960), Verlag der Metamorphosen, Austria
2005 Arresting Time, Photography 1948 – 1973, The Quantuck Lane Press, USA
2002/03 Vom Festhalten der Zeit: Reportage-Fotografie 1948-1973, Christian Brandst?tter, Austria;
(Mémoire du temps : Photographies de reportage 1948-1973), Hazan, France
1998 The Gods of Ancient Egypt, George Braziller, USA
1997 Florence and the Renaissance, Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, USA
1996 Dieux de l'Egypte, Imprimerie Nationale, France
1995 Pompei, Terrail, France; (Pompeji), Komet, Germany
1994 Femmes, Mythologies, Imprimerie Nationale; (Frauen, Mythologie) Metamorphosis,
1994/95 Erich Lessing: Photographie: Die Erste 50 Jahre (Fifty years of Photography),
Eigenverlag der Museen der Stadt Wien, Germany
1992 Florence La Renaissance, Terrail, France; (Florenz), Terrail, Germany
1990 Geheimnisvolles ?gypten, Bechtermüntz, Germany; (Immortelle Egypte), Nathan,
1987 La Grèce, Payot, France; (Griechenland) Kohlhammer, Germany
1983 Die Italienische Renaissance, Bertelsmann, Germany; (La renaissance italienne)
Hatier, France
1980 Les Voyages de St Paul, Hatier, France; (Paulus) Herder, Germany;
(The Travels of St. Paul) Herder & Herder, USA
1979 Les Celtes, Hatier, France; (Die Kelten) Jugend & Volk, Austria
1975 L'Opéra de Paris, Hatier, France
1971 Der Mann aus Galil?a, Herder, Germany
1969 Deutsche Reise, Herder, Germany
1967 Discoverers of Space, Herder & Herder, USA
1966 Die Anche Noah, Molden, Austria; (The Story of Noah) Time & Life, USA
1965/66 Die Odyssee, Herder, Germany; (The voyages of Ulysses), Time & Life, USA;
(L'Odyssée), Hatier, France; (Odyssea), Paoline, Italy; (The Odyssee), McMillan,
1963 Imago Austriae, Herder, Austria
1956 Die Szene, Staatsdruckerei, Austria


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(c) 《摄影比赛在中国》 2000-2001 制作