Erling Mandelmann

People searching in a dump, Europe
WHO/Erling Mandelmann

Erling Mandelmann was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1935. After an apprenticeship with a Danish photographer's studio, he moved to Switzerland in 1963 to study at the Ecole des Arts et Métiers in Vevey, Switzerland. Then he started working in Lausanne as a freelance photographer taking pictures for a number of Swiss and European publications. He also worked for international architecture magazines and Berlitz travel guide books. During 40 years as a photoreporter, he took portraits of many well-known European personalities. Mr Mandelmann gained renown for his work, earning assignments from the United Nations, Amnesty International and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Mandelmann produced his first photo assignment for WHO in 1967. Over the course of 20 years he reported on many aspects of the Organization's work in Europe, Africa and Greenland. His photographs were often featured in the World Health magazine.

A grand outing to Furuvik: Sweden, 1967
For his first WHO assignment in 1967, Erling Mandelmann spent 14 days in photographing health services in Sweden. He accompanied a group of local policemen who, every year, invited disabled children from the Strömbro Center in Gävle on an outing. The photo report Grande sortie à Furuvik, accompanied by a text written by Mr Mandelmann, was published in 1968.

Drought and distress: Togo, 1972
In 1972, Erling Mandelmann went on an extended photographic assignment in Lomé, Togo. For three months he travelled throughout Togo, Benin and Ghana, taking photographs for WHO and the World Food Programme. In 1974, the World Health magazine published Drought and distress featuring Mr Mandelmann's images of the World Food Programme's work in Togo.

"[Mandelmann] observes the world with empathy yet in all lucidity, without judging or criticizing it. He gazes out in such a humanistic spirit that he rarely takes a caustic or harsh approach to it."
-- Diana Le Dinh and Anne Leresche. Objectif Photoreportage. Lausanne, Editions Benteli et Musée historique de Lausanne, 2007.