Excerpt from a review of Bruce Davidson, Subject: Contact in AnOther Magazine, by Miss Rosen -
Seeing Mid-Century America Through the Eyes of Bruce Davidson
At the tender age of ten Bruce Davidson embarked on a quiet, solitary hunt in search of the perfect photograph. It was a journey that began when his mother built a darkroom in the basement of their home in Oak Park, Illinois so that he could meticulously print and edit his work, scanning contact sheets in search of gems preserved in slips of silver gelatin first captured on his forays out into the world.
“I always felt like an explorer on some faraway planet,” Davidson tells AnOther from his home in New York City. “I work best if I’m left alone. I like to explore, uncover, observe and reflect without anyone looking over my shoulder.”
His independence has been an integral part of his career, a trait that announced itself while serving in the US Army during the 1950s. Posted to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe outside Paris, Davidson was given enough freedom to follow his own path – one that lead to his meeting the widow of the impressionist painter Leon Fauché in Montmartre, who he photographed alongside her late husband’s paintings. His photographs of their encounter, first published in Esquire in 1958 in an essay titled Widow of Montmartre, caught the eye of Henri Cartier-Bresson, who arranged to have Davidson inducted into Magnum Photos that year. As a member of the fabled photo agency, Davidson has become one of the most influential photographers of our time, writing history with his camera in a series of landmark images.