Close Enough: Photography by David Seymour (CHIM), by Terry Gips, 1999

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This book inspired an exhibition of work at the University of Maryland:

Curated by Terry Gips with assistance from Ben Shneiderman
and presented at The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland, 1999.

This exhibition assembled a group of photographs by David Seymour, one of the founders (along with Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa) of Magnum Photos. The curatorial focus seeks to expand beyond Seymour’s customary characterization as concerned documentarian. These photographs are more than revealing records of people and events–they are expressions of shared moments between David Seymour (1911-1956, also known as Chim) and the individuals who faced the lens of his camera. They do not represent the one-way action of photographer pointing camera at subject, but instead the two-way exchange between two people, the mutual project of parties on both sides of the lens.

Some works in the exhibition are Seymour’s familiar documents of the ravages of war. In others we recognize the faces of celebrities. Some photographs are spontaneous moments in the street and others are formally planned and posed. In all, though, we see David Seymour’s respect for his subjects and his relationship with them–a relationship that has a past and a future surrounding the moment in which Seymour opened his shutter to record their presence on film. Again and again, these photographs show us that Seymour created intimacy and bridged distance, that he was close enough.

The exhibition was curated by Terry Gips with the participation of Ben Shneiderman, nephew of David Seymour and professor of computer science at the University of Maryland. A print catalogue accompanies this exhibition and is available from The Art Gallery.

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