Horst Tappe mainly photographed personalities from the fields of art and humanities. His greatest successes include portraits of painters Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Oskar Kokoschka, actors Peter Ustinov, Sophia Loren and Noel Coward, writers Vladimir Nabokov, Ian Fleming and Harold Pinter, orchestra conductors Pierre Boulez and Igor Stravinsky, the musician Pablo Casals and statesmen Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. 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. In 1979, he became an honorary member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers. Far-removed from the apparent superficiality of the celebrity world, Horst Tappe approached his subject by seeking the intimate reality of the person.