Description

In 1962 Leonard Freed went to Berlin to shoot the wall being erected. There he saw an African American soldier standing in front of the wall and it struck him; that at home in the US, African Americans were struggling for civil rights, and here in Germany an African American soldier was ready to defend the USA. This prompted a lengthy examination by Freed of the plight of the African Americans at home in the United States. Pictured here, a Harlem Fashion Show in New York City, 1963.

Ultimately, photography is about who you are. It's the seeking of truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit

Leonard Freed

Leonard Freed was born in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class Jewish parents of Eastern European descent. He initially wished to become a painter, but began taking photographs while in the Netherlands in 1953 and discovered that this was where his passion lay.

Working as a freelance photographer from 1961 onwards, Freed began to travel widely, photographing the black experience in America (1964-65), events in Israel (1967-68), the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the New York City police department (1972-79). He also shot four films for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian television.

Freed joined Magnum in 1972. Photography became Freed’s means of exploring societal violence and racial discrimination.

Leonard Freed died in 2006.

© Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos

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