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Leonard Freed Worldview
By John Allan
A black man photographed from behind with his hands gripped at his back with the slogan “freedom now” emblazoned across it, captured a time long before garments carried messages so bold, blatant and powerful, long before the trend disseminated to almost every high-street shop following a catwalk trend.

© Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos

A white priest in clerical dress enters the black mans space with a supportive and accepting look on his face. The scene is captured on film in sensitive black and white, overtly mirroring the subject of the image.

This is the work of one of the best documentary photographers the world has known and is part of a diverse retrospective of the work of Leonard Freed bound in the book ‘Worldview’.


In our current climate of political and economic unrest, it would certainly not be wrong to assume that our awareness of world issues is heightened. We require and appreciate accurate and insightful journalism and moreover, imagery that can capture a scene similar to our own experienced circumstances or something we cannot begin to comprehend.

Leonard Freed’s work has been implicated in the journalism of many important world events since he started taking photographs in 1955. He has completed assignments with his craft, which has aptly been called “concerned photography”, and been featured in many important international newspapers and magazines including ‘The Sunday Times’, ‘Paris Match’, ‘Life’, ‘Die Zeit’, ‘Der Spiegel’, and the ‘New York Times Magazine’.


Freed first made his name covering the American civil rights movement and since then he has captured many insightful scenarios behind events including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the post-war reconstruction of Germany. As well as photography he has had essays published that study Asian immigration in England, Spain since Franco and the Ku Klux Klan.

Leonard Freed passed away in 2006 and ‘Worldview’ is not only a powerful and sensitive first-hand insight into many important events that shape our history, but a testament of Freed’s inspired and intelligent ability to engage with the world through the language of photography.

Worldview is available from Steidl () priced £27.50


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