Condition of the Heart

A photographer’s regard is informed by a myriad of concerns, from light to line, from color to contrast. Yet how often is profound caring the defining technical element of an image?

David “CHIM” Seymour has long been heralded for his sublime sense of humanity, but what is becoming increasingly celebrated is the artistic mastery that allowed him to perfectly translate emotion into image. The Condition of the Heart exhibition delved into Seymour’s remarkable oeuvre and documented the technical splendor that resulted in some of the most emotionally vibrant photographs of the 20th century.

“What is so extraordinary about David’s work is that there is a warmth and depth not found today,” explains °CLAIR Gallery curator Anna-Patricia Kahn. “You can feel the heart beating in these images.”

The Condition of the Heart exhibition was presented within the framework of the 70th anniversary of Magnum Photos, the venerated photography agency that Seymour co-founded. The exhibition ran from October 5, 2017 to November 7, 2017 at Franz-Joseph-Strasse 10 in Munich.

David “CHIM” Seymour was born as David Syzmin in 1911 in Warsaw, Poland. He adopted the moniker “CHIM” based on the pronunciation of his birth name. After studying graphic arts in Leipzig, he turned to photography in 1933 while in Paris. He photographed major events such as the Spanish Civil War and World War II, and then in 1947 he co-founded the Magnum Photos agency. His postwar photographs of the physically and spiritually maimed children of Europe attracted worldwide attention and were published by UNESCO. He died in Egypt in 1956 while covering the Suez Crisis.

“CHIM picked up his camera the way a doctor takes his stethoscope out of his bag, applying his diagnosis to the condition of the heart.”—Henri Cartier-Bresson

Purchase Information

The featured image is Greece, Saving Children by David “CHIM” Seymour, 1948. © David Seymour/Magnum Photos, all rights reserved. Image courtesy the °CLAIR Gallery. Purchase inquiries are welcome via email at anna@clair.me