Selected by the acclaimed photographer from his vast archive, this exhibition will present previously unpublished work dating from 1957-1977. The photographs represent the arc of Davidson’s versatile career with individual images that were overlooked at the time. Some are from Davidson’s most well-known series—East 100th Street, a look at one Harlem block in 1966-68; Brooklyn Gang, which followed a group of teenagers in the summer of 1959; Time of Change, his Civil rights photographs from 1961-65; and Subway, a look at life on the trains from 1977. Other works, in the streets of New York, the markets of Mexico, or the wilds of Yosemite, stand apart from those series though remain characterized by a creative practice rooted in humanism. The works in the exhibition are drawn from a new book, Bruce Davidson: The Way Back, to be published by Steidl in 2023.
“His best work is characterized by detailed observation revealing the complexities of distinct individuals, their beliefs, the communities where they live and the subcultures they belong to,” writes Paul Roth, Director, The Image Centre at Toronto Metropolitan University, about Bruce Davidson in the introduction to the book. “At the same time, despite the freshness of these unseen images, they are familiar. We know some of these people; they inhabit a world we remember seeing before. And we recognize a vision, a perspective, a way of looking at the world.”
From the beginning of his career, Davidson endeavored to document his subjects in depth and over time. Nearing the age of 90, the celebrated photographer took the editing of these works as a personal challenge. He looked over his career with a fresh eye, revisiting his photographs and the people and places in them, thus expanding the stories he documented, deepening his reportage, and enriching a legacy replete with empathy and heart.
The Way Back
23 June – 16 September 2023