"If I am looking for a story at all, it is in my relationship to the subject — the story that tells me, rather than that I tell."

- Bruce Davidson

b. 1933


Based in New York, USA


Available for commissions
& assignments

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1933, Bruce Davidson won first prize in the Kodak National High School Competition at the age of 16. He went on to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University.

During military service in Paris, Davidson met Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of Magnum Photos, and in 1958 became a full member (he is now a contributor). After leaving the military, he worked as a freelance photographer for Life, and from 1958 to 1961 created such seminal bodies of work as Circus, Brooklyn Gang, and Freedom Rides. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962 and created a profound documentation of the civil rights movement in America, later published as Time of Change. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his early work in a solo exhibition.

The first photography grant from the National Endowment for the Arts was awarded to Davidson in 1967. He spent two years witnessing the dire social conditions on one block in East Harlem and the resulting book, East 100th Street, was published by Harvard University Press in 1970. This work became an exhibition that same year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, curated by John Szarkowski.

Davidson extended his view of the city in 1980 with Subway, which explored the New York underground and its subterranean travelers. His next project, Central Park, was a four-year encounter (1992–95) with the city’s magnificent green space — a convergence of humanity, nature and the city. Davidson’s film Living off the Land received the Critics Award from the American Film Festival. Henry Geldzahler, the former Curator of Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, said, “The ability to enter so sympathetically into what seems superficially an alien environment remains Bruce Davidson’s sustained triumph; in his investigation he becomes the friendly recorder of tenderness and tragedy.”

Davidson continues to live and work in New York City.

Selected works



Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson's vivid exploration of New York's subway system in the 1980s is an epoch-defining series that marked the photographer's shift from black and white to color

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