Bruce Davidson: Survey

Text by Charlotte Cotton, Carlos Gollonet, Frits Gierstberg, and Francesco Zanot
Copublished by Aperture and Fundación Mapfre

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9 7/16 x 11 in. 320 pages, 190 black-and-white images Hardcover 978-1-59711-377-9 Fall 2016

An Interview with Bruce Davidson

An Interview with Bruce Davidson
Bruce Davidson is a pioneer of social documentary photography. He began taking photographs at the age of ten and continued to develop his passion at Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. Later called upon for military service, Davidson met Henri Cartier-Bresson in France and was introduced to Magnum Photos. In his work, Davidson prizes his relationship to the subject above all else. From his profound documentation of the civil rights movement to his in-depth study of one derelict block in Harlem, he has immersed himself fully in his projects, which have sometimes taken him several years to complete. He once wrote, “I often find myself an outsider on the inside, discovering beauty and meaning in the most desperate of situations.”


This survey, created in conjunction with an exhibition at Fundación Mapfre in Spain, focuses on the work that has made Davidson one of the most influential documentary photographers to this day. In addition to his civil rights series and his work in Harlem, the book includes Davidson’s well-known series Brooklyn Gang, Subway, and Central Park. The book also highlights more recent projects, such as his explorations of Paris and Los Angeles landscapes.


Bruce Davidson (born in Oak Park, Illinois, 1933) is an award-winning photographer whose career spans nearly sixty years. He became a member of Magnum Photos in 1958, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1967 and 1980, the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004, and a Gold Medal of Honor Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. His work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Aperture Foundation, New York.


Charlotte Cotton (text) is an author, editor, and curator. At the forefront of the appraisal of contemporary art photography for over twenty years, she currently serves as the first curator-in-residence at the International Center of Photography, New York. In the past, she has held curatorial positions at institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Photographers’ Gallery, London, and the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has been a visiting scholar and critic at institutions including Parsons The New School for Design, New York University, and School of Visual Arts, New York; California College of the Arts, San Francisco; and Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles. She is the author of Photography Is Magic (Aperture, 2015) and The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2014), and the founder of Words Without Pictures.


Carlos Gollonet (text) is the chief curator of photography at the Fundación Mapfre as well as a freelance editor and publisher. He is the author of Emmet Gowin (Aperture, 2013), Eugène Atget: Paris 1898–1924 (2011), and Fazal Sheikh (2009), among other titles.


Frits Gierstberg (text) is the head of exhibitions at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, and professor of photography at Erasmus University Rotterdam. An art historian, curator, and critic, he has published numerous books on Dutch and international photography. He is the author of The Dutch Photobook (Aperture, 2012), European Portrait Photography (2015), Reinier Gerritsen: Wall Street Stop (2011), and Eugène Atget: Paris 1898–1924 (2011), among other titles.


Francesco Zanot (text) is a photography critic and the chief curator of CAMERA: Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, Turin, Italy. He is the author of Olivo Barbieri: Ersatz Lights: Case Study #1 East West (2015) and Ping Pong Conversations: Alec Soth with Francesco Zanot (2013), and has contributed to publications such as Foam and Fotografia Magazine.

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