Introduction by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Chim, like Robert Capa, was a Parisian from Montparnasse. He had the intelligence of a chess player; with the air of a math teacher he applied his vast curiosity and culture to a great number of subjects.
We had been friends since 1933. The precision of his critical spirit had rapidly become indispensible to those around him. Photography to him was a pawn that he moved all over the chessboard of his intelligence. One of his pawns kept in reserve was his culinary delicacy, which he handled with gentle authority, always ordering good wines and elaborate dishes. He had one area of personal elegance: his black silk ties.
His perspicacity, his very delicacy, often gave him a sad, even disabused smile, which brightened if one humored him. He gave and demanded much human warmth. He had so many friends everywhere; he was a born godfather.
When I went to announce his death to his friend Dave Schoenbrun, he said to me in the conversation that followed: "You and I know each other very little. And yet Chim was a friend of both of us. He was a man of secret compartments and forgot to make them communicate."
He accepted the servitudes of his profession, and turned out to be break in situations that seemed utterly foreign to his personality. Chim picked up his camera the way a doctor takes his stethescope out of his bag, applying his diagnosis to the condition of the heart. His own was vulnerable.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1996
Copyright © 1996 Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown and Company
Introduction from the book CHIM: The Photographs of David Seymour.