Born in 1938 in Westphalie, Germany, Horst Tappe attended the School of Experimental Photography near Frankfurt after an apprenticeship at the traditional photographic workshop of Martha Hoepffner. He then continued his training at the Vevey School of Photography in Switzerland, obtaining a maîtrise fédérale, a professional specialist qualification. His meeting with Gertrude Fehr played a decisive role in defining his photographic style.

Self-portrait of Horst Tappe in Vevey, circa 1961 Portrait of Horst Tappe with Noël Coward, circa 1963
Horst Tappe exhibited in many cities in Europe and the United States. From 1965, he lived and worked in Montreux, Switzerland, staying regularly in London, Paris and Berlin. He gradually built up a portrait gallery of internationally famous figures that was solicited by both the press and publishers. His photographs featured in newspapers and books around the world. In 1979, he became an honorary member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers.

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