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playlist

Magnum Masters: Leonard Freed

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Work by the Magnum Photos photographer Leonard Freed.

“Ultimately, photography is about who you are. It’s the seeking of truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.” — Leonard Freed

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to working class Jewish parents of Eastern European descent, Leonard Freed first wanted to become a painter. However, he began taking photographs while in the Netherlands in 1953, and discovered his lifetime’s passion.

In 1954, after trips throughout Europe and North Africa, he returned to the United States and studied in Alexei Brodovitch’s “design laboratory.” He moved to Amsterdam in 1958 and photographed the Jewish community there. He pursued this concern in numerous books and films, examining German society and his own Jewish roots.

Freed is perhaps best known for cataloguing the American civil rights movement. The images he captured from that time would not only help mobilize society in the moment, but preserve their efforts for generations to come.

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Works

The March on Washington
The March on Washington
The March on Washington
The March on Washington
The March on Washington
The March on Washington
Harlem 1963
Harlem 1963
The March on Washington
The March on Washington
Street Scene
Street Scene
Tough
Tough