Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Bruce Davidson  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1933 in Chicago, Illinois


-- Bruce Davidson on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=bruce+davidson


Illinois Connection

He was born in Chicago, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Bruce Davidson is an award-winning photographer. He is best known for his depictions of poverty and adversity in American life. He has been a contributor to periodicals, including, ''Life'', ''Realites'', ''Du'', ''Esquire'', ''Queen'', ''Look'' and ''Vogue''. Davidson's photographs are held in museums around the world. He has published several books and received many awards, including the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts to document one block in Spanish Harlem. Two one-man exhibitions of his work have been shown at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Davidson has also dreicted short films, including, ''Living off the Land and Isaac Singer's Nightmare'' and ''Mrs. Pupko's Beard''.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Bruce Davidson Photographs
ISBN: 0671400681

Agrinde/Summit Books. 1979

A photographic exploration of contemporary life includes realistic studies of a Parisian widow, a Brooklyn gang, Black Americans, New Jersey and other families, Welsh miners, a topless restaurant, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge under construction

Bruce Davidson: Central Park
ISBN: 0893819921

Aperture. 2005

Bruce Davidson, intrepid explorer of the urban terrain, has taken on a project of extraordinary visual and metaphorical scope. His approach to Central Park's wildlife--human and otherwise--varies as much in format as it does in emotional quality Davidson discovers a multiplicity of mysteries, eccentricities and characters, a microcosm of the remarkable city of which Central Park is the heart.

Brooklyn Gang
ISBN: 0944092519

Twin Palms Pub. 1998

Signed by Bruce Davidson. Beautifully designed and reproduced using the sheet fed gravure method, this collection of Bruce Davidson's photos of a Brooklyn gang were taken in the the 1950's and are here gathered in book form for the first time. This book was limited to 4,000 copies.

Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-1965
ISBN: 0971368112

St. Ann's Press. 2002

On May 25, 1961, Bruce Davison joined a group of Freedom Riders traveling by bus from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. The actions of these youths challenged and disobeyed federal laws allowing for integrated interstate bus travel. These historic episodes, which ended in violence and arrests, marked the beginning of Davidson's exploration into the heart and soul of the civil rights movement in the United States during the years 1961-1965. In 1962, Davidson received a Guggenheim Fellowship and continued documenting the era, including an early Malcolm X rally in Harlem, steel workers in Chicago, a Ku Klux Klan cross burning near Atlanta, farm migrant camps in South Carolina, cotton picking in Mississippi, protest demonstrations in Birmingham, and the heroic Selma March that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was instrumental in changing the political power base in the segregated Southern states. In the 140 photographs collected here, many of which have never before been published, we see intimate and revealing portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, and other leaders made by Davidson during those turbulent times. These images describe the mood that prevailed during the civil rights movement with a lyrical imagery that is both poignant and profound. As Davidson bears witness to these historical events, and documents the degradation and segregation that were endured, he gives testimony to the struggle for freedom, equality, justice, and human dignity.

Bruce Davidson: East 100Th Street
ISBN: 0971368139

St. Ann's Press. 2003

For two years in the 1960s, Bruce Davidson photographed one block in East Harlem. He went back day after day, standing on sidewalks, knocking on doors, asking permission to photograph a face, a child, a room, a family. Through his skill, his extraordinary vision, and his deep respect for his subjects, Davidson's portrait of the people of East 100th Street is a powerful statement of the dignity and humanity that is in all people. Long out of print, this volume is a reissue of the classic book of photographs originally published in 1970 and recently included in The Book of 101 Books. This reprint includes over 20 new images not included in the original edition.

Bruce Davidson: Subway
ISBN: 097136818X

St. Ann's Press. 2004

Since ground was first broken, New York City's subway system has been the stuff of living legend--and a source of inspiration and fear. This dark, democratic environment provided the setting for photographer Bruce Davidson's first extensive series in color, originally published in 1986. In it, subway riders are set against a gritty, graffiti-strewn background, displayed in tones Davidson described as "an iridescence like what I had seen in photographs of deep-sea fish." Never before had the subway been portrayed in such detail, revealing the interplay of its inner landscape and outer vistas. The images include lovers, commuters, tourists, families, and the homeless. From weary strap hangers to languorous ladies in summer dresses to stalking predators, Davidson's compassionate vision illuminates the stubborn survival of humanity. From the spring of 1980 to 1985, Davidson explored and shot 600 miles of subway tracks. In his own words, he "wanted to transform this subway from its dark, degrading, and impersonal reality into images that open up our experience again to the color, sensuality, and vitality of the individual souls that ride it each day." Now nearly 25 years later, and on the eve of the subway's 100th anniversary, St. Ann's Press is publishing a new edition of Davidson's classic book. This edition adds 43 unseen images to the original book, and includes an introduction by Arthur Ollman of the Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego, and a foreword by Fred Braithwaite (aka Fab Five Freddy), the original graffiti artist. It also includes Bruce Davidson and Henry Geldzahler's original essays.

Bruce Davidson: Portraits
ISBN: 0893818518

Aperture. 2005

Something unusual happens when a photographer known for empathetic portraiture of the marginalized focuses his incisive eye on the lifestyles of the rich and famous. In Bruce Davidson's wildly diverse and revealing Portraits we see Joan Crawford hell-bent on force-feeding some poor soul, Diana Ross and The Supremes having a snowball fight, and an intense Samuel Beckett during a rehearsal of Waiting for Godot. Seen through Davidson's lens, Newt Gingrich is as goofy as Bobby Kennedy is impenetrable.

Bruce Davidson: England/Scotland 1960
ISBN: 3865211275

Steidl. 2006

In 1960, after spending an intense year photographing a notorious Brooklyn street gang called The Jokers, Bruce Davidson decided that he needed to get away from the tension, depression and potential violence connected to that work. He took on a commission to photograph Marilyn Monroe during the making of John Houston's film The Misfits in the Nevada desert, and then traveled to London on a commission for The Queen magazine. Edited by Jocelyn Stevens, The Queen was a magazine devoted to British lifestyle and Davidson was charged, with no specific agenda, to spend a couple of months touring England and Scotland to build a photographic portrait of the two countries. England/Scotland 1960 offers a visionary insight into the very heart of English and Scottish cultures. Reflecting a postwar era in which the revolutions of the 1960s had hardly yet filtered into the mainstream, Davidson's photographs reveal countries driven by difference--the extremes of city and country life, of the landed gentry and the common people--and lucidly portrays the mood of these times in personal and provocative imagery that is as fresh today as it was in that time. Published in this book for the first time in its entirety, this is one of undiscovered gems of late twentieth-century documentary photography.

Bruce Davidson: Circus
ISBN: 3865213669

Steidl The Masters. 2007

One of the world's most influential photographers, Bruce Davidson, takes readers inside three midcentury big tops in images that are poetic, realistic and profound. He reveals not only the swiftly vanishing cultural phenomenon of the circus, but what might be called the eternal human circus. At a three-ring show in 1958 he climbed to the top of the tent to view the performances of the famous liontamer Clyde Beatty and human cannonball Hugo Zacchini. His deeper interest lay in the daily lives of circus performers and producers--the roustabouts and riggers, and the pretty girl who rode an elephant in what was called the "spec." He also made an intimate series of a dwarf clown. In 1965 at a huge multi-ring coliseum show, Davidson took a more critical look at performances under a steel-and-concrete environment continuing behind the scenes, his vision became sharper and more surreal. And in 1967, Davidson caught the elegant exuberance of an Irish one-ring circus. He photographed the kinds of performances that are the essence of the medium, including a face-to-face encounter with an exceptional trapeze artist. Most of these pictures are published here for the first time.

Bruce Davidson: Outside Inside
ISBN: 386521908X

Steidl Photography International. 2010

Journey of Consciousness is a gorgeous three-volume box set of 800 photographs drawn from this master photographer's immense archive. Chosen by Davidson himself, the selection spans a 60-year career, and features such seminal bodies of work as Circus(1958), Brooklyn Gang(1959), East 100th Street(1966-1968), The Civil Rights Movement(1961-1965), Subway(1980) and Central Park(1992-1995), as well as his two most recent works in progress--a series of urban landscapes made in Paris (2007) and Los Angeles (2009)--and many unpublished photographs. The pages in these volumes document Davidson's passionate and progressive vision, a vision that bears witness to several decades of volatile change in twentieth-century America.
Born in 1933 in Oak Park, Illinois, Bruce Davidson's prolific career began in 1949, when he began taking photographs as a precocious 16-year-old. In 1954, he studied at Yale University with the great teacher and artist, Josef Albers, working briefly as a freelance photographer for Lifemagazine before joining Magnum Photos in 1958, after a meeting with one of its founders, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Davidson was given a Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. His work has been extensively published in monographs and is included in many major collections around the world.


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