Biography of David Seymour (1911-1956)

Polish photographer, born in Warsaw (Poland) on November 20, 1911 and died in Suez (Egypt) on November 10, 1956, known under the pseudonym "Chim".


Your child develops between Warsaw and Russia. After approving high school, he/she began his studies in photography at the Academy of graphic arts in Leipzig, studies that ends two years later in 1929. He/She moved to Paris to continue his apprenticeship at the Sorbonne until 1933. There he/she adopts the pseudonym "Chim" that will meet most of your colleagues and friends.

Working as a freelance in 1934 reaches a considerable recognition, enough to publish their photographs in a magazine as Regards. It is also in Paris where close ties with photographers such as Robert Capa or that Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1947 he/she founded the international photographic agency Magnum, whose presidency he/she held in 1954, after the death of layer.

Liberal and anti-fascist ideology, Seymour moved to Spain when the Civil War broke out. Here he/she performs one of his most overwhelming war reporting and captures not only the barbarism of the war and the soldiers at the front, but also the daily life of a population divided by the disaster with his camera. His images on the aerial bombardment of Barcelona consecrate him internationally.

At the end of the war in 1939, Seymour returned to Paris from where part make an important trip that will take him to Mexico. He/She finally settled in New York. Between 1942 and 1945 he/she served in the U.S. Army as an interpreter and photo monitor. More than photographer of the front, despite their work carried out during the Spanish civil war, can be said is a renowned photographer of "hidden" war, one that residents from the towns, villages, cities live...: children crying, desperate women to the potential loss of their husbands, elders gathered on his own memories of a time better. In this line, during the second world war and at the request of UNESCO, is dedicated to photographing the impact of this major disaster, taking as protagonists to children, mainly in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Greece, Italy and its Poland native. This journey by European geography was born in the Children of Europe, album published in 1949 by the UNESCO publication.

In 1956, Seymour was in Greece in order to study the monuments of antiquity, when the Suez Canal crisis led to the outbreak of war. The photographer went through Cyprus to Suez in order to make a graphic report on the exchange of prisoners when an Egyptian gun ended his life, a life full of dangers at a time when the violent actions were developed with incredible speed. But shown in his work a love for life, hope, and peace that few cameras have picked up with elegance, freshness and naïveté of a David Seymour.

Outstanding work

Children of Europe, 1945-1949. Black and white.Of the parties containing this album include Greece, evacuation of children, which creates an oblique composition where several rows of people - children and the elderly - are arranged before the observer of foreshortened way. A single glance, nor a single gesture, only the appeal of a girl that, firstly, scanning the audience asking for answers.

Another composition of 1948, no title, shows a group of happy girls playing ball with a nun on the right side of the composition. The movement of the sister, together with the ball thrown into the air, contrasts with the stillness of the Group of girls that attentive waiting to catch the ball. A natural setting, spacious, bright is closed by ruins of stone, terrible reflection of the social environment.

One of the most sympathetic images included in this album is Untitled, in 1947, showing a child, dressed in very humble way, in general, and from a point of view shot, making a grimace with the mouth and eyes. It is not the photographer who looks but to life and, with a position between challenging and child - arms in jar and stand with the raised tip-, strikes his naive blow hard social stage that he/she lives, as the Sun of noon barely tries to sear their freshness.


SOUGEZ, Marie-Loup: History of photography. Art Chair notebooks. 2nd Edition. Madrid, 1985

VV..: photography of the 20th century. TASCHEN. Cologne, 1997