Bruce Davidson, born on 5th September 1933 is an Americain photographer from Illinois. When Davidson was ten, his mother made a darkroom for him in their house basement. Then he started to fulfill his interest of taking photos. Soon he communicated with a photographer in their locality who educated Davidson about photography technicalities including printing and lighting skills. In his teenage years only, he received an award for his photograph in a photo contest at the Kodak National High School. After completing high school, he went to Rochester Institute of Technology and then to Yale University. As a thesis for his college, he made a photography essay recording football players’ emotions when they are not playing the game. This work got published in 1955 in Life magazine. Following this, Davidson served at Fort Huachuca for United State Army’s Signal Corps at Arizona. There he had to do photography assignments. By his outstanding studies, an editor requested him to join the post newspaper permanently. There he was given a chance to polish his skills and talents. Later he came across Henri Cartier-Bresson when he was positioned in Paris. Davidson showed Bresson his portfolio and received advice from him. During his stay in France, he created Widow of Montmartre, a photo composition on a Parisian old woman. His artistic capabilities have been influenced by Bresson, Eugene Smith, and Robert Frank.
In 1957, after serving for the military, Bruce Davidson did freelance photography for some time, prior to joining Magnum Photos. He then started to photograph extensively by producing notable works, such as The Dwarf, and Brooklyn Gang. From 1961 for four years, he produced the most famous work chronicling the effects and events in his country due to the Civil Rights Movement. In 1962, Davidson was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship to support his project. This project was exhibited in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). In addition, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a grant for photography.
Moving on, East 100th Street was Davidson’s another popular project based on East Harlem’s infamous block. This work was also shown at MoMA. This was followed by another work from him, titled Subway. It gave a classical depiction of the subway system in New York (1970s). Then in the 1990s, he finished exploring Central Park for four years. In 1998, he returned to working on the East 100th Street to document the changes that happened since the time he documented it last. This work gave him an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship Award.
Other works by Davidson have also appeared in museums and galleries around the world. In 2008, a portrait book of his work was published which included people like Marilyn Monroe, Kiki Smith, Andy Warhol, John Cage, Jack Kerouac, Leonard Bernstein, and Fannie Lou Hamer.
Bruce Davidson has been the director of two short films that won awards as well 1) Living off the land; 2) Isaac Singer’s Nightmare and Mrs Pupko’s Beard. A photograph from his series, the Brooklyn Gang was featured on the cover of Together Through Life, Bob Dylan’s album, 2009.
In 2011, Davidson received an outstanding photographic contribution award at the Sony World Photography Awards.
Over the span of his professional life, Bruce Davidson has earned a respected position as a documentary photographer. He is still famous around the world in publications.