CHIM (David Seymour ) - Legendary Photojournalist
First retrospective exhibition of the Magnum photographer in Europe
Exhibition: – 10 Mar 2019
Joods Cultureel Kwartier | Jewish Cultural Quarter
Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1
1011 PL Amsterdam
"Chim (David Seymour): Legendary Photojournalist"
Exhibition: 19 October 2018 – 10 March, 2019
The Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam presents the exhibition "Chim (David Seymour): Legendary Photojournalist". It is the most comprehensive overview to date of the Polish-American photographer David Seymour, also known as "Chim". Chim was one of the most significant photojournalists of the 20th century. Together with his friends Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, he founded the photography agency Magnum Photos in 1947. The Jewish Historical Museum is the first museum in Europe to exhibit this travelling exhibition from America.
Chim's (1911-1956) versatile photography covers a period of almost 25 years, from the early 1930s to his sudden death in 1956. As a committed photojournalist, his camera covered, among other things, the Spanish Civil War, the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War, and the early years of the establishment of the State of Israel. In contrast to his photojournalism, he also made stories of film stars like Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Loren. Among his best known are his poignant photos of war-traumatized children taken in 1948. These photographs were made in commission for UNESCO in Greece, Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Poland.
Chim was a much sought-after photojournalist whose work was published by the major illustrated magazines of his day, such as Regards, Life, and Paris Match. He often chose subjects that were on the sidelines of current affairs to convey details of the greater political story. Not only photographing the featured speaker at a rally, he photographed the crowd as well. While capturing the devastation by bombardments, he also focused on the consequences for the civilian population. Like no other, Chim could bring multiple layers of meaning to his photographs through composition, framing, and light. Almost all of his photographs have a strong narrative power and show a rare combination of intellectualism, sensitivity, and a sense of aesthetics. Many of his photographs convey a universal meaning that transcends the time in which they were taken.
Chim was born in Warsaw in 1911 as Dawid Szymin, son of a Jewish publisher and printer. Due to the economic recession and the increasing anti-Semitism in Poland, he left for Paris in 1932 and began to photograph there. As a photographer, he took the more easily pronounceable and spellable and less Jewish name Chim. He soon became a highly respected photojournalist for the French left press and his images of the anti-fascist fight in Spain were published internationally. After escaping France in 1939, he moved to New York, where he acquired American nationality in 1942 and adopted the name David Seymour. His friends and colleagues, however, still referred to him as Chim. On 10 November 1956, he was killed by an Egyptian sniper during a trip to Egypt to report on the Suez Crisis.
The exhibition will showcase more than 150 photographs (mostly vintage prints) and about 100 magazines, books, albums, and personal documents.
The exhibition is curated by the International Center of Photography in New York. It was shown there in 2013 under the title "We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933—1956 by Chim" and was made possible by The John and Anna Maria Phillips Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts.
In collaboration with UNICEF, on 20 November, World Children's Day and Chim's birthday, a theme day will take place, including a lecture by Carole Naggar, author of the book Chim: "Children of War".