Curator and scholar Cynthia Young presents the celebrated re-edition of the iconic Robert Capa photobook Death in the Making alongside scholar Carole Naggar, author of the recent publication, David “CHIM” Seymour: Searching for the Light. 1911–1956.

Following the conversation, at 7:15 PM, Cynthia will give an in-gallery Curator Tour of the exhibition, Death in the Making: Reexamining the Iconic Spanish Civil War Photobook, on view September 30 through January 9, 2023.

About Death in the Making ($45)

The exhibition is accompanied by a 2020 edition of Death in the Making ($45), published by Damiani/ICP. Robert Capa’s Death in the Making was published in 1938 as a poignant tribute to the men and women, civilians and soldiers alike, fighting in Spain against Franco’s fascist insurrection. The book included only one year of images from the Republican position, but covered the spectrum of emotions of a civil war, from the initial excitement to the more harrowing realities of modern warfare. But over time, after World War II and rising anti-communist paranoia in the United States, association with the Spanish Civil War was a liability and the book became obscured. Today, however, Death in the Making has reached cult status, not least because copies are hard to find (particularly ones with Capa’s famous The Falling Soldier image on the dust jacket).

About David “Chim” Seymour: Searching for the Light. 1911–1956 ($104)

Chim is best known as one of the cofounders of photojournalism’s famous cooperative Magnum Photos. Weaving Chim’s life and work together, this book discovers this empathetic photographer who has been called "The First Human Rights Photographer".

In 1947, Chim was one of the four cofounders of the Magnum Photos cooperative with Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger. He also wrote Magnum’s 1955 bylaws, which are still in effect today. But he is the only one of those famous photographers who does not have a full biography to his name. This book examines his life and work from Poland to France to the Spanish Civil War, his work for British intelligence during World War II, his reportage on Europe’s children after the war, his reportages on Italian actors, illiteracy and religious festivals in Southern Italy, his coverage of Israel’s beginnings before his 1956 death during the Suez war. His complex itinerary is emblematic of the displacements and passages of the 20th century.

About the Exhibition

Death in the Making: Reexamining the Iconic Spanish Civil War Photobook brings together nearly 75 original photographs and related ephemera to tell the story of Robert Capa’s iconic 1938 photobook about the Spanish Civil War. In addition to work by Capa, the exhibition presents new insights into the contributions of Polish American photojournalist David “Chim” Seymour, who was only recently credited for his work in the book, and German photojournalist Gerda Taro. Taro’s death in the Spanish Civil War spurred the production of the book, which is dedicated to her.

Program Format

Behind the Photobooks will take place in person at ICP located on NYC's Lower East Side, in the ICP Library on the second floor. Attendance is free with museum admission. Admission is pay-by-donation on Thursdays from 6 to 9 PM.

Come early or stay after the conversation to explore ICP’s galleries. Close Enough: New Perspectives from 12 Women Photographers of Magnum and Death in the Making: Reexamining the Iconic Spanish Civil War Photobook are on view through January 9, 2023.

Cynthia Young has curated numerous exhibitions on photojournalism in the 1930–50s, including Capa in Color; We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 by Chim and The Mexican Suitcase: The Rediscovered Spanish Civil War Negatives of Robert Capa, Chim and Gerda Taro. These exhibitions traveled widely to multiple venues in France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Hungary and Sweden. She was until 2020 the curator of the Robert Capa and Cornell Capa Archive at ICP, where she worked since 2000.

Carole Naggar is a poet, photography historian, curator, and painter. Among her recent publications are David “Chim” Seymour: Searching for the Light. 1911–1956 (De Gruyter, 2022) ; Tereska and Her Photographer (2019), a story with photographs by David ‘Chim’ Seymour; Récits instantanés (2019),a memoir; Picto-Magnum: 70 Years of Correspondences (2020) and Saul Leiter: In My Room (2018). She is a contributor to What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women 1843-1999 (2020).

Image: Robert Capa, [Children walking along a train track, fleeing Nationalist bombings, near Cerro Muriano, Córdoba front, Spain], September 1936. The Robert Capa and Cornell Capa Archive, Gift of Cornell and Edith Capa, 1992 (692.1992). © International Center of Photography / Magnum Photos