Bruce Davidson | Images from the Inside

Davidson began photography at the age of ten in Oak Park, Illinois. In 1949, at the age of 16, he won his first prize in the Kodak National High School Competition. He went on to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. After military service in 1957, he worked as a freelance photographer for Life Magazine and in 1958 became a member of Magnum Photos, the international photography agency.

As one of the country's most respected and influential documentary photographers, Bruce Davidson's images span 6 decades of contemporary life in America. From his early work in the 50s documenting the troubled youth in New York and the documentation of the Civil Rights Movement and life in East Harlem in the 60s, to his most recent images of Central Park in the 90s, this exhibition will feature over 50 works selected from Davidson’s major series of photographs to date.


Views of our recent Davidson exhibition. Click to enlarge.

Our exhibition will focus particularly on two of Davidson’s most important series of photographs, TIME OF CHANGE and EAST 100th STREET. Inspired by an experience with the Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama in 1961, Davidson traveled throughout the deep South and the North documenting aspects of the Civil Rights Movement on a Guggenheim fellowship from 1962-1965. Although the charged images of these tumultuous times—the violence and hate, the defiance and demonstrations—will be on view, it is Davidson’s portrayal of the lived experiences of individuals and communities during and after the movement that broadens our understanding of the events. One image illustrates the hypocrisy of the time; a black couple is being arrested—their protest sign in the policeman’s hand reads, “If Khruschev (sic) can eat here, why can’t we?” Davidson’s keen eye for documenting the manifold emotions and diverse experiences of the movement remains one of the enduring legacies of his career.

With a grant from the NEA in 1966, Davidson spent two years tirelessly documenting the attempt by a citizens’ committee to rejuvenate one block in Spanish Harlem—EAST 100th STREET. Davidson photographs the mostly African American families going about their daily lives in the homes, apartments, playgrounds and streets of this neighborhood as they cope with the renovations of buildings, strive for better housing, and fight the sharp rise in drug abuse.

For one of his first series of photographs, The BROOKLYN GANG,1959, Davidson followed the notorious street gang, The Jokers. In a time just prior to the drug epidemic that was to sweep through New York, and while still only 25 himself, Davidson captures all the rebellious sentiments and lack of direction in these youth. Candid images of the Tattoo shops, Coney Island bars, beaches, and New York parks portray the posturing, fear, depression and anger endemic to the times. This series marks what was to become a career of documenting with dignity, while remaining properly detached from, his mostly outsider and disenfranchised subjects.


Views of our recent Davidson exhibition. Click to enlarge.

The pieces from Davidson’s PORTRAITS series include images of artists, Andy Warhol (shown at right) and Kiki Smith, performers such as The Supremes as well as various movie stars. As was typical of the diverse assignments of Magnum photographers at the time, Davidson was assigned to document the making of the movie, “The Misfits” in the Nevada desert near Reno in 1960. The movie starred Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Cliff, was written by Arthur Miller, and was directed by John Huston. Capturing the actors and director during their down-time on set produced revealing images of the natural grace and magnetism of these stars.

The exhibition will also include photographs from TRIPWEST, a 1966 journey across America Davidson took by himself in a pickup camper, CAFETERIA, a 1973 series of elderly Jewish people in a Lower East Side coffee shop, CENTRAL PARK is a series of photographs made over the course of four years in the early 90s in the New York landmark, and his recent documentation of life in LAS VEGAS.



Images from Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-65:
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, New York.


Prices and availability are subject to change as editions sell out - Please email a list of prints you are interested in purchasing so we may confirm current availability and price.


click on an image to enlarge:


“COLORED GALLERY” AT NIGHT, 1962
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches




“PREACHERS ONLY” SIGN ABOVE OLDER FEMALE PRIEST, 1962
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches




BLACK GIRLS RUNNING PAST SEATED WHITE CHILDREN IN THE SOUTH, 1962
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches




BOY WRITES ON CHALKBOARD IN SCHOOL NEAR SELMA, ALABAMA, 1965
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





KKK HANDING OUT FLIERS, 1962
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





LAUGHING LADIES IN MISSISSIPPI, 1962
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





MAN WITH BINOCULARS AT MALCOLM X RALLY, 1963
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





POLICE WATER HOSING OF PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION IN BIRMINGHAM, 1963
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches



SELMA MARCH, 1965
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches




WOMAN BEING PAID FOR BALE OF COTTON IN SOUTH CAROLINA, 1962
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches




WOMAN HOLDING "JIM CROW MUST GO" SIGN IN NEW YORK, 1962
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches




YOUTH ARRESTED DURING PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS IN BIRMINGHAM, 1963
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches



Images from Trip West
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, New York.

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Prices and availability are subject to change as editions sell out - Please email a list of prints you are interested in purchasing so we may confirm current availability and price.




CAMPGROUND NO. 4, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches




DRIVE-IN THEATER AND TRACT HOUSING OUTSIDE SAN FRANCISCO, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches




Images from Portraits
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, New York.


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Prices and availability are subject to change as editions sell out - Please email a list of prints you are interested in purchasing so we may confirm current availability and price.



MARILYN MONROE HAVING HER MAKEUP TOUCHED UP ON LOCATION NEAR RENO, NEVADA, 1960
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





ARTHUR MILLER AND MARILYN MONROE TOGETHER ON THE SET OF THE MISFITS, 1960
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





JOHN HUSTON, MARILYN MONROE, MONTGOMERY CLIFT, AND ARTHUR MILLER ON THE SET OF THE MISFITS, 1960
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





THE SUPREMES LYING IN BUNK BEDS BACKSTAGE AT THE APOLLO THEATER, 1965
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





WARHOL ON COUCH WITH ROBERT INDIANA IN WARHOL'S STUDIO, 1964
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





WARHOL WITH ELVIS PAINTING, 1964
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches



Images from East 100th Street
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, New York.


click on an image to enlarge:

Prices and availability are subject to change as editions sell out - Please email a list of prints you are interested in purchasing so we may confirm current availability and price.




CHILD ON FIRE ESCAPE, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





FAÇADE OF EAST 100TH STREET, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches





COUPLE BY JUKEBOX IN SOCIAL CLUB, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





FAMILY IN KITCHEN WITH PET CANARIES, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 Inches





GIRL ON BED WITH VALENTINE, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





LITTLE GIRL BEHIND CURTAIN NEXT TO TV SET, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





NUDE WOMAN AND CHILD ON BED, 1966
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches




Images from Bruce Davidson Photographs
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, New York.


click on an image to enlarge:


Prices and availability are subject to change as editions sell out - Please email a list of prints you are interested in purchasing so we may confirm current availability and price.



DWARF STANDING OUTSIDE OF TENT WITH FLOWERS AND CIGARETTE, 1958
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





DWARF COMING OUT OF TENT WITH ELEPHANTS, 1958
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches




Images from Central Park
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, New York
.

click on an image to enlarge:

Prices and availability are subject to change as editions sell out - Please email a list of prints you are interested in purchasing so we may confirm current availability and price.



BOYS HANGING FROM BRANCHES OVER POND, 1992
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches





MEN KISSING ON RAILING UNDER TREES, 1992
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





FIGURES IN SNOW UNDER CANOPY OF TREES, 1992
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches




Images from Brooklyn Gang
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, New York.


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Prices and availability are subject to change as editions sell out - Please email a list of prints you are interested in purchasing so we may confirm current availability and price.



BOYS LYING UNDER THE BOARDWALK AT NIGHT, 1959
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





GIRL SMOKING ON BLANKET IN PROSPECT PARK, 1959
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





KATHY COMBING HER HAIR REFLECTED IN CIGARETTE MACHINE MIRROR WITH ARTIE
ROLLING UP HIS SLEEVES IN CONEY ISLAND, 1959
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches





LEFTY WITH HIS FIRST TATTOO, 1959
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches



Unpublished images
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, New York.


click on an image to enlarge:


Prices and availability are subject to change as editions sell out - Please email a list of prints you are interested in purchasing so we may confirm current availability and price.



DWARF DRESSED AS A SOLDIER TALKING TO COCA-COLA VENDOR, 1958
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





KIKI SMITH WITH SCULPTURE, 1997
Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches





THE SUPREMES SINGING IN THE STUDIO, 1965
Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 inches





AIRSHOW AT NULLES AIR FORCE BASE, 2002
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches





"NEW YORK STREET" IN LAS VEGAS, 2002
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches

Bruce Davidson is one of America's most respected and influential documentary photographers. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. Davidson has been a member of Magnum Photos, the renowned international photography agency, since 1958. He received the first photography grant ever given by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1966 and spent the next two years photographing East 100th Street in New York's Harlem. His work has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, LIFE, Esquire and many other publications around the world. One-person exhibitions of Davidson's work have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, The Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American Art, and the International Center of Photography. - International Center of Photography