Focusing in: David Seymore (“Chim”)

July 3, 2010

Born in Poland on November 20, 1911, David Seymour is known as one of the most compelling photographers in the world. He is marked by his compelling, wartime photographs which helped to shape and convey the image of Cold War time for his audiences.

Seymour’s career started in his bathroom where, during his tenure in art school, he had constructed a dark room to develop photographs as a hobby. Initially, he had studied printing in college, intending to work for his father’s publication business; however, toward the end of his studies, his hobby and love for photography developed into a way of life.

3 years later, in 1939, Chim immigrated to the United States and in the process, changed his name to Seymour. There he worked for the magazine Regards as a staff photographer in which he became most recognized for his photographs of the Spanish Civil War. Wanting to have more power over his own progress, in 1947, he founded Magnum with his friends Robert Capa, Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and Bill Vandivert. The photography cooperative remains today as one of the most compelling photographic archives. From thence on, Chim traveled around the world on assignment for Time and the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization(UNESCO) and eventually, was killed on assignment, photographing the events of the Arab-Israeli War.

Memorable even after death, NPR describes him as “a war coorespondant who not only focused on the destruction but on the swaddled infant next to the rubbe: on what survived”. His contributions to the field of photojournalism inspired the creation of the International Center of Photography in New York


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