Description

On May 25, 1961, Bruce Davidson joined a group of Freedom Riders traveling by bus from Montgomery, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi. The actions of the Riders tested federal laws permitting integrated interstate bus travel. These historic episodes, which ended in violence and arrests, marked the beginning of Davidson’s exploration into the heart of the civil rights movement in the United States during the years 1961–1965. Pictured here, a group of civil rights demonstrators march from Selma to Montgomery to fight for black suffrage in 1965.

Most of my pictures are compassionate, gentle and personal. They tend to let the viewer see for himself. They tend not to preach. And they tend not to pose as art.

Bruce Davidson
© Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos

Bruce Davidson began taking photographs at the age of 10 in his home of Oak Park, Illinois. While attending Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University, he continued to further his knowledge and interest in the medium. 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. Five years later, 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.

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.

© Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos

Get Magnum news and updates directly to your inbox