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David „Chim” Seymour
Photographer and photojournalist
1956 11 10
1956 11 10
David Seymour (born Dawid Szymin; November 20, 1911 – November 10, 1956), or Chim (pronounced shim, an abbreviation of the surname "Szymin"), was a Polish photographer and photojournalist.
Chim was known for his images from the Spanish Civil War, for co-founding Magnum Photos with Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and George Rodger, and for his project "Children of War" with UNICEF that captured the plight of children in the aftermath of World War II.
He became president of Magnum after Capa's death in 1954 and held this post until his own death in 1956 by Egyptian machinegun fire in the aftermath of the Suez crisis.
Wikipedia, last update 2023.04.04.
David Szymin was born in 1911 in Warsaw into a family of publishers that produced works in Yiddish and Hebrew. His family moved to Russia at the outbreak of the First World War, returning to Warsaw in 1919.
After studying printing in Leipzig and chemistry and physics at the Sorbonne in the 1930s, Szymin stayed on in Paris. David Rappaport, a family friend who owned the pioneering picture agency Rap, lent him a camera. One of Szymin’s first stories, about night workers, was influenced by Brassaï’s Paris de Nuit (1932). Szymin – or ‘Chim’ – began working as a freelance photographer. From 1934, his picture stories appeared regularly in Paris-Soir and Regards. Through Maria Eisner and the new Alliance agency, Chim met Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa.
From 1936 to 1938 Chim photographed the Spanish Civil War, and after it was over, he went to Mexico on an assignment with a group of Spanish Republican émigrés. On the outbreak of the Second World War, he moved to New York, where he adopted the name, David Seymour. Both his parents were killed by the Nazis. Seymour served in the US Army (1942-45), winning a medal for his work in intelligence.
In 1947, along with Cartier-Bresson, Capa, George Rodger, and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum Photos. He was commissioned by UNICEF the following year to photograph Europe’s children in need. He went on to photograph major stories across Europe, Hollywood stars on European locations, and the emergence of the State of Israel. After Robert Capa’s death, he became the new president of Magnum. He held this post until 10 November 1956, when, traveling near the Suez Canal to cover a prisoner exchange, he was killed by Egyptian machine-gun fire.
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