by Bruce Davidson
Bruce Davidson (Born in Chicago 1933).
Bruce Davidson, a true star in the history of contemporary photography in the United States, he has produced over half a century, work that is celebrated for its social dimension, as well as being both political and poetic.
Humanity is at the heart of his work. Bruce Davidson has been a member since 1958 of the near mythical photographic reporting agency Magnum, he has never stopped looking for controversial subjects to immortalize with his camera. Amongst his work, he shot the series Brooklyn Gang, using a teenage gang, in 1961, Bruce Davidson started his work on the fight of black Americans for equal civil rights, in 1966 Davidson worked on 100th Avenue. More recently, in 1986, Bruce Davidson shot his color work on the New York underground, Subway and in 1996, he photographed the famous Central Park, in the same New York.
Davidson’s love of humanitarian photo reporting as well as esthetics is not by chance. In 1957, based in Paris for his military service, Bruce Davidson shot his first work, The Widow of Montmartre, that he gave to his «Photographic father » Henri Cartier-Bresson, who encouraged him to continue his work.
The strong relationship between the two men, this relationship of teacher and student, helps to explain the retrospective exhibition devoted to Bruce Davidson at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris (17th January to 22nd April 2007).
The exhibition assembled a hundred black and white photographs, of two emblematic series of his work : Time of Change (on the American civil rights movement) and 100th Avenue (on life in Harlem).
The importance of these works is also in the fact that we have been able to see some of the originals from the 1960’s published in the publication DU from this period. Also for the most part, the more recent shots that Bruce Davidson has done in New York have never been seen before in France.
FineArtTv has followed the work of Bruce Davidson in the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, and as true example of a great master, it has for its goal the transmission of his passion and his fundamental ideas on photography :
The camera is for me a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and of spontaneity, the master of an instant in visual terms. To capture the world, you have to feel involved in what is left out from behind the viewfinder. This style needs concentration, sensitivity, a sense of geometry. It is by an economy of means or above all the forgetting of oneself that we arrive at the simplicity of expression.
To photograph; is to hold ones breath, when all our faculties are converging to capture that instant of reality; it is the taking of that special shot, that is a enormous physical and mental joy.
To photograph; is the capturing of that instant, that fraction of a second when all that rigorous organization of visual forms that signify and express what we are trying to say is captured.
This puts on the same imaginary line, the eye and the heart. It is a way of life. Henri Cartier-Bresson