Description

David Seymour’s unobtrusive manner, sense of humor and ability to listen, helped in the creation of portraits that went beyond the usual “glamour shots,” conveying an air of relaxed intimacy. Among his subjects were Audrey Hepburn, Joan Collins, Ava Gardner, Kim Novak – and Sophia Loren.

Seymour said of the session with Loren: “I photographed Sophia in 1955, a budding actress, we talked over the phone and I explained what I wanted. She invited me over for a Sunday morning early meeting, I found her in bed in a dark blue negligee although she was talking on the phone. She got up and changed costume, we went to a covered balcony of her apartment and I had nothing else to do but record a stream of poses which somehow met my memory of wartime pin-ups. All this was done with a touch of irony and maliciousness.”

All you need is a little bit of luck and enough muscle to click the shutter

David Seymour

David Szymin was born in 1911 in Warsaw into a family of publishers that produced works in Yiddish and Hebrew. His family moved to Russia at the outbreak of the First World War, returning to Warsaw in 1919.

From 1936 to 1938 'Chim' photographed the Spanish Civil War, and after it was over, he went to Mexico on an assignment with a group of Spanish Republican émigrés. On the outbreak of the Second World War, he moved to New York, where he adopted the name, David Seymour. Both his parents were killed by the Nazis. Seymour served in the US Army (1942-45), winning a medal for his work in intelligence.

In 1947, along with Cartier-Bresson, Capa, George Rodger, and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum Photos. He was commissioned by UNICEF the following year to photograph Europe’s children in need and went on to photograph major stories across Europe, Hollywood stars on European locations, and the emergence of the State of Israel.

He was killed by Egyptian machine-gun fire on November 10 1956, while traveling near the Suez Canal to cover a prisoner exchange.

© David Seymour | Magnum Photos

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