Bruce Davidson

American, b. 1933

Bruce Davidson began taking photographs at the age of ten in Oak Park, Illinois. While attending Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University, he continued to further his knowledge and develop his passion. He was later drafted into the army and stationed near Paris. There he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of the renowned cooperative photography agency, Magnum Photos.

When he left military service in 1957, Davidson worked as a freelance photographer for LIFE magazine and in 1958 became a full member of Magnum. From 1958 to 1961 he created such seminal bodies of work as “The Dwarf,” Brooklyn Gang,” and “Freedom Rides.” He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1962 and created a profound documentation of the civil rights movement in America. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his early work in a solo show.

In 1967, he received the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts, having spent two years witnessing the dire social conditions on one block in East Harlem. This work was published by Harvard University Press in 1970 under the title East 100th Street and was later republished and expanded by St. Ann’s Press. The work became an exhibition that same year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1980, he captured the vitality of the New York Metro’s underworld that was later published in a book, Subway, and exhibited at the International Center for Photography in 1982. From 1991-95 he photographed the landscape and layers of life in Central Park. In 2006, he completed a series of photographs titled “The Nature of Paris,” many of which have been shown and acquired by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Davidson received an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998 to return to East 100th Street His awards include the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004 and a Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. Classic bodies of work from his 50-year career have been extensively published in monographs and are included in many major public and private fine art collections around the world. He continues to photograph and produce new bodies of work


Yale University
Rochester Institute of Technology


2007       Gold Medal Visual Arts Award – National Arts Club
2004       Lucie Award – Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography
1998       Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship
1973       American Film Festival - First Prize in Fiction (Isaac Singer’s Nightmare and
              Mrs. Pupko’s Beard)
1969       Critics Award, the American Film Festival (for Living off the Land)
1967       National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Photography
1962       Guggenheim Fellowship
1949       First prize in the Kodak National High School Competition


2009       Central Park - Sony World Photography Awards, Cannes, France
2008       Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 - High
              Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA,
2008       Bruce Davidson - Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia
2008       Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts - American Academy of Arts and Letters,
              New York
2007       Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Lower East Side - The Jewish Museum, New York
2007       Central Park - PhotoEspaña, Astroc Fundacion - Madrid, Spain
2007       The Nature of Paris - Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France
2007       Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-65 and East 100th Street –      
              Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, France
2007       Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-65 –  Aperture Foundation, New York
2006       Subway – Rose Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2006       Bruce Davidson – Bulger Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2006       On the Street - Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago
2005/06  Bruce Davidson - Atlas Gallery, London
2005       Subway - Gallery Lumière, Seoul, South Korea
2005       Subway - Museum of the City of New York
2004       Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Lower East Side, Mead Art Museum, Amherst 
              College, Amherst
2004       Subway - Hermès Gallery, New York
2004       Subway - Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
2003       East 100th Street 1966 – 1968 - Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle
2003       Inside, Outside - Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
2003       Retrospective - Robert Klein Gallery, New York
2003       Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-65 - ICP, New York
              Rose Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2003       Images from the Inside - Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, Washington
1998/99  Brooklyn Gang - International Center of Photography, New York
1995/96  Bruce Davidson - Parco Gallery, Tokyo
1988       East 100th Street, The Cafeteria, and Subway - Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1983       Subway - Musée Réattu, Arles, France
1983       Subway - Galerie Municipale du Château-d'Eau, Toulouse, France
1982       Subway - International Center of Photography, New York
1979       Bruce Davidson Photographs - International Center of Photography, New York;
              Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Galerie Delpire, Le Nouvel
              Observateur, Paris
1970       East 100th Street - Museum of Modern Art, New York
1966       Bruce Davidson - Museum of Modern Art, New York
1965       Photographs by Bruce Davidson - Art Institute of Chicago


Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson
Huntington Library, San Marino, California
International Center of Photography, New York
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP), Paris
Masur Museum, Monroe, Louisiana
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Museum of the City of New York
Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP), Chicago, Illinois
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Gallery of Canada, Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada, Ottawa
New-York Historical Society, New York
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Wilson Centre for Photography, London
Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut


2007       Circus, Steidl, Germany
2004       Isaac Singer and the Lower East Side, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, USA
2003       Subway, St. Ann's Press, USA
2005       England / Scotland 1960, Steidl, Germany
2002       Time of Change, Civil Rights Photographs 1961-1965, St. Ann's Press, USA
1999       Portraits, Aperture, USA
1998       Brooklyn Gang, Twin Palms, USA
1995       Central Park, Aperture, USA
1997       Photo Poche, Editions Nathan, France
1990       Bruce Davidson (Photofile), Thames & Hudson, UK
1986       Subway, Aperture, USA; St Ann's Press, USA
1986       Bruce Davidson, Pantheon/National Center of Photography, USA
1979       Bruce Davidson Photographs, Simon & Schuster, USA;  (Bruce Davidson
), Le Chêne, France
1973       Subsistence USA, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, USA
1970       East 100th Street, Harvard University Press, USA;
              St. Ann's Press, USA
1966       The Negro American, Houghton, Mifflin, USA
1964       The Bridge, Harper & Row, USA

2008       Central Park in Platinum
2007       Subway
1982       Welsh Miners

1968       Living off the Land
1971       Zoo Doctor
1972       Isaac Singer's Nightmare and Mrs. Pupko's Beard