British Journal of Photography, by Charlotte Harding, October 31, 2016
Some of the most iconic Magnum Photographers, dating from the early years of the photo agency right up to the present day, share their most empathetic image, inspired by the work of David ‘Chim’ Seymour.
The connection between photographer and subject is a vital element in the power of an individual photograph. In turn, the image has the power to inspire, inform and communicate human engagement.
In 1948, David ‘Chim’ Seymour would come to pioneer this visual form of emotional empathy through his work with UNICEF – following the children orphaned and scarred by the consequences of the Second World War.
Working for six months on a dramatically reduced fee, Chim painstakingly travelled across Europe shooting 257 rolls of film, going beyond mere illustration of UNICEF’s work, the assignment became a labour of love, revealing his unique capacity to awaken the public’s conscience to war’s most vulnerable victims.
His unapologetically compassionate approach reflected both his deep seated humanism and unique ability to treat those he photographed with equanimity, reverence and respect, developing a genuine human connection that would become emblematic of the engagement at the heart of documentary photography today.
Chim’s photographs remain an indispensible part of history, creating a style of photography which has not only shaped the ethos of Magnum Photos and it’s photographers, but forged a legacy that will continue to influence generations of photographers to come.