Chim: David Seymour's Humanist Photography
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Image: A November 14  Agence France-Presse teletype report from Port Said describing the ceremony held when Egyptian authorities returned the bodies of Chim and French photojournalist Jean Roy, who were killed on November 10, 1956 A November 14 Agence France-Presse teletype report from Port Said describing the ceremony held when Egyptian authorities returned the bodies of Chim and French photojournalist Jean Roy, who were killed on November 10, 1956
© Chim Archive
Image: A November 15 Agence France-Presse report from Nicosia, further detailing the moving ceremony held at Port Fuad when the bodies were returned, also notes that Chim's body will be transported to the United States for burial A November 15 Agence France-Presse report from Nicosia, further detailing the moving ceremony held at Port Fuad when the bodies were returned, also notes that Chim's body will be transported to the United States for burial
© Chim Archive

Port Said

Chim's reportage on the 1956 Suez Crisis for Newsweek was his last. The crisis was triggered by Egypt's nationalization of the Suez Canal. In response, France and Britain supported an Israeli invasion of the Sinai, launched on October 29, and soon injected their own forces to secure the canal.

Chim had been in Greece when the conflict broke out. Though he had not been a war correspondent since his time in Spain, he was determined to get to Egypt to cover the hostilities. Friends tried to dissuade him, but Chim argued that Magnum had to cover world events and that he was the only Magnum photographer available. His close emotional ties to Israel probably also impelled him to take part.

Chim made his way to Port Said, Egypt, on November 7, the day on which an Armistice was agreed. In the company of several other journalists, Chim spent the following days shooting the destruction and mayhem in and around the city. On November 10, Chim and Jean Roy, a swashbuckling Paris Match photographer, drove 50 miles south of Port Said to photograph a prisoner exchange. Accounts of their deaths diverge, but the outlines are clear: Jean Roy drove their jeep past the Anglo-French lines, through No Man's Land, toward the Egyptian lines. An Egyptian machine-gunner fired at the jeep, striking the photojournalists, and the jeep toppled into the Sweet Water Canal. Both Chim and Roy were killed.