Worldview: Photographing World Disorder • Leonard Freed • Magnum Photos

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Current Exhibition

Worldview: Photographing World Disorder

An extensive retrospective of Leonard Freed's photographic works goes on display at the Jewish Museum of Belgium

Leonard Freed

Leonard Freed West German children playing in their street, before their door stands the deviding Wall. West Germany, West Berlin. 1961. © Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos

Since the early 1950s, documentary photographer Leonard Freed had been chronicling life in the Western world with a profoundly humanist vision. Worldview is the most ambitious exhibition of Freed’s work ever produced. It spans his full fifty-year career, including his coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the American civil rights movement, the period of post-war German reconstruction, and the Romanian revolution. His range is astonishing – on the one hand, war, revolution, crime, poverty, violent death and the grief it brings; on the other, the myriad forms of work people perform the world over, the mysteries of birth and death, the rituals of courtship and marriage, and the brief moments people find for reverie, contentment, friendship and love.

The exhibition was initially curated by William Ewing, director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne.

More information here.

Leonard Freed Festival at Hyde Park. London. England, UK. 1971. © Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos
Leonard Freed A young boy plays "tough" in the streets of Harlem. New York City. NY, USA. 1963. © Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos

Leonard Freed (1929-2006) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class Jewish parents of Eastern European descent. He began photographing while in the Netherlands in 1953. He moved to Amsterdam in 1958 and photographed the Jewish community there. He then photographed Jews in Germany and published the work in Made in Germany (1970). Working as a freelance photographer from 1961 onwards, Freed began to travel widely, photographing blacks in America, Black in White America (1967), events in Israel, the Yom Kippur War, and the New York City police department, Police Work (1980).

Leonard Freed A dead Egyptian soldier lays on a beach during the Six Day War. Gaza Strip. 1967. © Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos
Leonard Freed A man taken into custody in a police car. New York City, USA. 1978. © Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos