We Went Back: Photographs From Europe 1933 - 1956 by Chim

Chim, Picasso in front of his painting Guernica, Paris,  1937. photo: © Chim (David Seymour)/ Magnum Photos

New York City's International Center of Photography (ICP) hosts a survey of photographs by Chim, the Polish-born photojournalist whose images of wartime and post-war Europe are among the most iconic of the age.

Chim became renowned across the world for his intellectual, emotional photographic approach, as he took into account harsh realities of 20th-century history and documented its most fervent struggles: labour uprisings, regime change, post-war resistance and the impact of war on children across Europe.

Born Dawid Szymin in 1911, Chim came from an affluent Jewish family in Warsaw. His career as a photographer began in Paris in the 1930s, when he studied chemistry and physics at the Sorbonne. A family friend loaned him a camera, and he began taking pictures that caught the attention of editors at Paris-Soir. He was named staff photographer for the leftist weekly Regards, and traveled on assignment in 1936 to Spain during its civil war, documenting life beyond the battlefields.

When the situation at home in Warsaw grew threatening for people of Jewish heritage, Chim left by boat for Mexico, documenting his journey in a series that was published by Life and Paris-Match. He later moved to New York City, enlisting in the U.S. Army and serving in Europe while continuing to document the reality around him. He became a U.S. citizen in 1942, taking the name David Seymour. A career highlight came in 1947 with his photo story for the publication This Week titled We Went Back, documenting famous sites of the Second World War. The same year, Chim founded Magnum Photos with Robert Capa, William Vandivert, George Rodger and Henri Cartier-Bresson. He became president of the international photo cooperative in 1954, then was killed on assignment in 1956 while covering the armistice of the Suez War.

We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 is a retrospective survey of Chim's life and career as a politically engaged photojournalist, following his activity from early years in Paris to his final days in Egypt. Organized by ICP curator Cynthia Young, the exhibition features over 150 vintage prints, mainly black and whites, along with color prints that have never been shown, and publications, contact sheets and personal objects. The material in the show is from the collections of ICP and of Chim's nephew Ben Shneiderman, his niece Helen Sarid and extended family. The exhibition has been made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation, Inc., by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and with the support of the Polish Cultural Institute New York.

We Went Back runs from the 18th of January 2013 - 5th of May 2013 at the International Center of Photography (1133 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY). For more information, see: www.icp.org

Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart

Source: International Center of Photography, Polish Cultural Institute in New York

Chim, Children playing on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, 1947. © Chim (David Seymour)/ Magnum Photos (cropped)

Rate:
(78 votes)
John Malkovich on the train in Poland, photo. Adam Golec/ AG

The video clip for the song Kalifat, written and recorded by Kazik and Kwartet ProForma, will feature the famous Hollywood actor John Malkovich. The video will...

"Woodcutters" by Krystian Lupa performed at the Century Theatre in Beijing, photo. Studio Panato

A masterpiece, a dazzling artistic manifesto, breathtaking power of imagination from the Polish director – the French press raves of Krystian Lupa’s...

Biskupin in Minecraft's world, photo: press release by Lubietubyc.pl

Landmarks of Kujawsko-Pomorskie, a voivodeship in northern Poland, can now be admired online while playing Minecraft.

EC1 in Łódź, photo. Małgorzata Kujawka

National Centre of Cinematography, a new national institution of culture, will be built in Łódź – says Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.

Kapela Maliszów, photo by Jarek Mazur / band's promotional materials

Kapela Maliszów, a Polish family folk band that plays original music inspired by the traditional tunes, will perform at the 2015 WOMAD Festival, a music event...

  •  
  • 1 of 528

Old Manor House at Stryszów

The search for a mysterious girl photographed in the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto almost 70 years ago has yielded no results so far. She would be in her eighties...

Parish Museum

Museum at Tykocin

A page of the Voynich Manuscript

In 1912, the Polish bookseller and former revolutionary activist Michał Wojnicz, better known as Wilfrid Voynich, came into the possession of a mysterious,...

  •  
  • 1 of 400

The culinary tastes of the generations born in the PPR (the Polish People’s Republic) were shaped mostly by canteen food and home cooking, which was based on...

Throughout centuries, Poland has been populated by very diverse ethnicities and linguistic groups, all of which have left a mark. Here's a look at some of the...

Judas Priest, British Steel, cover art: Rosław Szaybo

Vinyl records combine visual art with musical mastery - and aficionados take interest in both. Here's a compilation of the most recognized album art created by...

Culture.pl presents a guide of a phantom city - a Warsaw that no longer exists.

Andrzej Wajda during a rehearsal of "The Possessed" according to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1971, Teatr Stary in Krakow, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum

Forty years since it irreversibly altered the Polish theatre scene, Wajda's adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Possesed" resurfaces on the small screen. "The...

  •  
  • 1 of 528