David Seymour (CHIM), by Tom Beck, Phaidon Publishers, 2006.
“David Seymour is still one of the most important photographers of the twentieth century, and in my view the most sensitive of all. There is beauty in just about every photograph he made, and there are not many artists about whom I could express such an observation nowadays. Because of the high quality of the fullpage photographs that are reproduced here, this book does justice to Seymour’s immense talent.” -Yves Laberge
David Seymour, or Szymin, was born in Warsaw in 1911, the son of a Polish publisher. In 1929 he studied graphic arts and photography at the academy in Leipzig, where he specialized in the new techniques of printing pictures in colour. In 1931 he moved to Paris to study sciences at the Sorbonne but with the political problems that developed in Poland he was advised to take up photography by David Rappaport, founder of the Rap agency, who in 1932 provided him with his first 35 mm camera. He began to contribute to magazines such as Vu, Regards and Ce Soir, travelling throughout Europe to capture significant events that have left their mark on much of the history of the twentieth century. He travelled to Spain in 1936 to cover the Civil War, and in his photographs of the plight of the civilian population he achieved some of his finest work This book covers the full range of Seymour’s career, from early photos of unrest in France for European and American magazines to his UNICEF-sponsored study of children in postwar Europe, which attracted worldwide attention. Among his many photographic essays are outstanding portraits of personalities such as Bernard Berenson who were treated with the same intensity as anonymous sitters. A founder member of Magnum, Seymour was President at the time of his death in 1956 while photographing Suez. This monograph on Seymour forms an elegantly produced introduction to one of the key figures in twentieth-century photography.