LONDON.- Vintage photographs from David Chim Seymours Children of Europe series are on display for the first time in the UK. Chim was commissioned by UNICEF following World War II to document the conflicts impact on children and the resulting photographs drew attention to wars most vulnerable victims. Also on show are rare vintage prints by Inge Morath, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Chim Seymour and Elliott Erwitt from the 1954 project Childrens World, displayed alongside caption sheets and magazine spreads from the project.
Magnum Photos was founded to allow photographers the freedom to pursue their own interests and causes, but alongside this the agency has consistently explored innovative collaborative projects with a global reach. One such project was Childrens world published in Holiday magazine in three parts in 1955 and 1956 examined the lives of children in Uganda, Lapland, France, Cuba, Italy, England, Holland and the USA amongst others. The playfulness of this series, including Henri Cartier-Bressons portraits of children at the Paris Opera School, Inge Moraths documentation of a six-year old English school boy attending and prestigious prep school and Elliott Erwitts photographs of the children of Wyoming, stands in sharp contrast with Chims Children of Europe project carried out only a few years previously.
David Chim Seymour was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1911 and moved with his family to Russia at the outbreak for World War I, returning to Warsaw in 1919. He studied printing in Leipzig and chemistry and physics at the Sorbonne, Paris in the 1930s. After being lent a camera by a friend who owned the pioneering picture agency Rap, he began to work as a freelance photographer and was introduced to Henri Carter-Bresson and Robert Capa. From 1936 -1938 Chim photographed the Spanish Civil War and then to Mexico on assignment with Spanish Republican émigrés. At the outbreak of World War II, in which both his parents were killed by the Nazis, he moved to New York and adopted the name David Seymour, and served in the US Army from1942-45. In 1947, along with Cartier-Bresson, Capa, George Rodger and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum photos. He went on to photograph major stories across Europe, including Hollywood stars and the emergence of the State of Israel. After Robert Capas 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.
The exhibition is on view at Magnum Print Room through 27 January, 2017.