DAVID SEYMOUR was a diminutive photographer who saw the big picture. Focusing his lens on war and its aftermath, he covered the Spanish Civil War, made poignant photos of the children of post-World War II Europe, then trained his camera on the developing nation of Israel.
From these travels came the stirring scenes in "Chim: Photographs by David Seymour," at the B'nai B'rith Klutznick Museum.
Born in Warsaw in 1911, Seymour took up photography at age 22 in Paris. There he met two other photographers, Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson. In 1939, Seymour came to America, joined the Army Air Force and served in Europe during World War II. Somewhere along the way he acquired the nickname Chim, from the pronunciation of his family name, Szymin.
After the war, the three photographers met again in Paris, and toasted their renewed friendship by creating Magnum Photos, named for the double bottle of champagne. Magnum continues to be a photographers' cooperative.
A painter-turned-photographer, Cartier-Bresson said of Seymour: "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; his own heart was vulnerable."
And this is clear in his photos, in a Polish child's face still wet from crying, or in an ancient rock face bleached by the sun at King Solomon's Mines, or even in the face of a socialite in Venice, her pointy sunglasses echoing pointy-prowed gondolas.
In 1956, Seymour was covering yet another war, the war in the Suez, when he was killed by machine gun fire at an outpost near the Suez Canal. He was on his way to photograph an exchange of prisoners, four days after armistice. CHIM: PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID SEYMOUR -- At the B'nai B'rith Klutznick Museum, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, through January 1987.