View Full Version : Photography by Bruce Davidson

January 29th, 2004, 06:05 AM
East 100th Street (http://www.magnumphotos.com/c/htm/FramerT_MAG.aspx?V=CDocT&E=2K7O3RP0468&DT=ALB)


Subway (http://www.magnumphotos.com/c/htm/FramerT_MAG.aspx?V=CDocT&E=2K7O3RJSJ42A&DT=ALB)


Central Park (http://www.magnumphotos.com/c/htm/FramerT_MAG.aspx?V=CDocT&E=2K7O3RNC0S6&DT=ALB)

Hello to Gulcrapek.

Brooklyn Gang (http://www.magnumphotos.com/c/htm/FramerT_MAG.aspx?V=CDocT&E=2K7O3RNC780&DT=ALB)


Bruce Davidson (http://www.magnumphotos.com/c/htm/TreePf_MAG.aspx?E=29YL53IQUP9)

January 29th, 2004, 08:17 AM
The Gritty City

January 29th, 2004, 12:00 PM
Thanks for the hello :lol:

It's a little disturbing to look at some of those pictures. The city really hit bottom in the 70s-80s. The one with the man at gunpoint is especially frightening - and how was he able to get that shot without being shot? Unless it was a dramatization.

So glad the subways have been mostly cleaned up..

TLOZ Link5
January 29th, 2004, 12:41 PM
Even when I was little and took the subway, I never saw even a fraction of the graffiti that covers those cars. I'd definitely take etched windows over that mess...wow.

January 29th, 2004, 03:43 PM
Ah, the good old days, before those damn yuppies came in and ruined everything, huh?

I'd like to point out that there's more than just grafitti: The streets in those days were littered with broken glass and all kinds of refuse, the highways with abandonned cars. I remember advertisements and TV commercials reminding people not to litter, something we take for granted today.

I've read --I wish I could remember where-- the urban decay of the 70's described as "biblical." It fits better than any other word I can think of.

TLOZ Link5
January 29th, 2004, 05:50 PM
We've come a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

::five minutes later::

ooooooooooooooong way since those bad ol' days. The City was going to die by the end of the '70s, at least that was the consensus. It not only didn't die, but it began to live again.

(I didn't come up with that quote, BTW)

TLOZ Link5
January 30th, 2004, 06:44 PM
The subway photos were all from 1980 (one of the worst years for New York, if you ask me). Look at how no one makes eye contact with anyone else. You look at these people's eyes and you see a lot of fear and wariness; an aspect of city life that we take for granted now, was a daily risk for millions of commuters back then.

February 4th, 2004, 07:12 PM
February 4, 2004

Photo Exhibit Zooms in on New York Life


Filed at 6:51 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Miles Davis performing at Birdland. A llama riding in a car through Times Square, its head sticking out a window. A dead body surrounded by gawkers.

The images are part of a new exhibit that captures more than half a century of New York City history through photojournalism. ``Magnum's New Yorkers,'' made up of 130 works from the celebrated photo agency's vast archives, opens Friday at the Museum of the City of New York. It runs through May 23.

``It's about the spirit of the city,'' David Strettell, director of cultural projects for Magnum, said. The agency was created in April 1947 by photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour. Works by Capa and Cartier-Bresson are included in the exhibit.

``I was going for a show that would speak about New York more as an experience than a place,'' Bob Shamis, curator of prints and photographs at the museum, said. He combed through 25,000 images from Magnum's archives, searching for those that best captured life in the city.

The images run the gamut of photos taken from 1939 through 2003: filmmaker Martin Scorsese holding up a picture of his mother as a child; actor James Dean taking a dance class with entertainer Eartha Kitt; a cocktail party at the late George Plimpton's apartment where the guests included writers Gore Vidal, Ralph Ellison and Mario Puzo.

``New York is a place where celebrities live, they don't just show up,'' Shamis said. ``It's also part of what New York is about.''

There are plenty of everyday New Yorkers as well: workers at the Fulton Fish Market; beachgoers at Coney Island; children looking out a window as a float from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade approaches from around the corner.

Some of the photographers used their lens to capture darker moments of life -- a homeless couple living in a shack; a panhandler emerging from a subway vent where he slept; Wall Street in the days following the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Others went for the good times -- a family using a fire hydrant to cool down during the summer; a couple dancing at the Savoy Ballroom; a man celebrating the Brooklyn Dodgers' only World Series victory.

``That is what is New York,'' Shamis said. ``You can never define it. The surprises that I had looking through the archive, I just wanted everyone to have the opportunity to have the same responses I did.''

Strettell said the ``New Yorkers'' exhibit was part of a series of events this year marking the 50th anniversary of Capa's death in 1954.


On the Net:

Museum of the City of New York: http://www.mcny.org

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press

February 4th, 2004, 10:21 PM
Amazing photos! Does anybody miss the early 80's new york?

February 5th, 2004, 12:38 AM
Have you been reading this thread?

February 6th, 2004, 11:53 AM

Brooklyn, 1993 by Eugene Richards

Beginning February 6, the Museum of the City of New York will host "Magnum's New Yorkers," a photojournalism exhibit that captures the city's history, people, and urban life.

The exhibit features 130 photographs taken between 1940 and 2002 including intimate portraits of celebrities like Miles Davis and James Dean; everyday street scenes on subway trains and at the Fulton Fish Market and Coney Island; and historic events like the Brooklyn Dodgers World Series victory and the terrorist attacks of September 11. Photographs by Eve Arnold, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Elliott Erwitt, Susan Meiselas and others will be on display.

"I was going for a show that would speak about New York more as an experience than a place," said curator Bob Shamis. "These images depict the people and life of New York City, but more than that, they evoke the feel of the city - its exuberant energy, diversity, and intensity."

In 1947, photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour formed Magnum Photos, a co-operative owned and operated by its members. By retaining the rights to their own negatives, members gained more artistic and financial control.

The exhibit will be on display from February 6 through May 23. Curator Bob Shamis will lead a gallery tour and discussion on February 7 at 2:00 p.m. On Saturday, February 14, at 3:00 p.m. journalist and historian Mary Panzer will moderate a discussion with member photographers Bruce Davidson and Susan Meiselas. For more information visit http://www.mcny.org .


February 24th, 2004, 02:48 PM

Bruce Davidson @ Hermès (http://www.bluejake.com/images04/2004_1_hermes/index.htm)

Freedom Tower
February 24th, 2004, 04:51 PM
The picture with the gun isn't real is it? I would certainly hate to have people taking pictures of me with a gun to my head if i were in that situation. Then again it would help the cops catch and convict that criminal. Anyway, It almost looks like a staged picture cause I doubt the person with the camera would take such a clear picture since he/or she would probably be so nervous the camera would be shaking.

TLOZ Link5
February 24th, 2004, 05:03 PM
A recent article in the Daily News revealed that the man with the gun is an undercover police officer detaining a mugger (i.e.: who he's pointing the gun at). That's why the cameraman was able to get a shot off—no pun intended.

February 26th, 2004, 08:51 AM
Underground and above it with Bruce Davidson

By Robert K. Elder
Tribune staff reporter

February 24, 2004

In his midteens, photographer Bruce Davidson received his first taste of subway culture on Chicago's elevated train.

Born in Chicago, raised in Oak Park, Davidson rode the rails into the city, exploring neighborhoods and the Loop, developing skills that would make him a world-renowned photographer.

Although Davidson made a name for himself documenting neighborhoods ("East 100th Street") and shooting celebrities (Marilyn Monroe on the set of "The Misfits"), some of his most celebrated work springs from the year he spent photographing the New York City subway system and its riders in 1979.

Previously published in 1986, a new edition of "Subway" (St. Anne's Press, 125 pages, $65) features 42 new images that capture a gritty, subterranean world from which Davidson coaxes beauty and color. Below, Davidson, 70, recounts his life as picture hunter on the rails in Chicago and New York, his adopted home.

Q. Can you contrast the Chicago "L" that you knew with the New York subway of that time?

A. The "L" was a lot safer than the New York subway.

In 1979, New York City was in default.There were potholes everywhere; neighborhoods were abandoned. The subway was dismal and dangerous, with graffiti all over the place and robbers. If you had a gold chain around your neck, they'd rip it off. It was a frightening place.

I felt the atmosphere needed to be documented down there. Not just the misery -- not just the beast, but the beauty.

I liken it to deep-sea fish that are photographed in total darkness under hundreds of fathoms of water, and yet have color -- where does that come from? My camera's strobe light bouncing off and penetrating the graffiti and flesh in that subway gave a dimension of color and meaning. I started in black and white, but I soon switched to color, because I found meaning in the color. And it helped transform the subway into another light.

Q. How might this book had been different if you had shot it in Chicago?

A. Well, the "L" from Oak Park to Chicago Loop is aboveground. Much of the New York subway is aboveground; I think about a third of it or so. So, it's not only a subterranean experience, but also an elevated experience.

You get a sense of the city from a moving train. Motion is very much a part of it. When you're moving, not only neighborhoods are scrolling by, but time and space is scrolling by.

The "L" was an experience of my early teenage life, which you always carry with you. I've left Chicago, but Chicago hasn't left me.

See, living in Oak Park, when I was about 15, I was an avid photographer at that age. And I was old enough that my mother, a single parent, would allow me to go into the Loop by myself and spend the afternoon roaming around. . . .

I wanted to go to Maxwell Street, but looking out the window, I could see Milwaukee Avenue. . . . I saw all these neighborhoods. . . . At that time, it represented freedom and exploration of the human condition. . . . I got very, very involved with that.

Actually, the "L" was a kind of a catalytic agent for work I did much later in the New York subway.

Q. There were 42 images added to this edition of the book. Tell me about your favorites.

A. Well, Page 38. It's a woman. You don't see her face, only the delicacy of her scarf. It was an essence of the woman without showing her face. It's a portrait without a face. It's what James Agee called "badges of our being." . . .

The first thing the Nazis did when they captured people, they ripped their being off of them -- took their rings, a jacket, a nice pressed shirt or coat -- those things that make us feel human and give us an identity, in a way. That woman had kind of a badge of being. To wear a delicate scarf in this dark tunnel impressed me.

In the New York subway, the robbery picture you see in the book, that was made on the No. 1 train from 72nd Street to Times Square. That picture was made during the week, and the robber knew he had two or three minutes from the express stop between 72nd and Times Square to commit a crime.

Q. This is the much-talked-about photo, on Page 91, with a man in a red jacket holding a gun up to someone's head . . .

A. New York magazine called me, and they were doing a story on a series of subway undercover detectives, who dressed themselves and behaved in certain ways to entice muggers.

And one detective was dressed as a rabbi with a beard, and he wore a gold chain. Of course, rabbis don't wear chains, but the robber probably didn't know that. I volunteered, since I had been mugged previously when I was alone. . . . I volunteered to be a decoy so, I acted in such a way to get mugged. Now, I always had my camera out around my neck when I took pictures because I can't just hide the camera and then approach people. It has to be out there, in the open. I took a subway map out and pretended I was lost.

The robber came into the car, robbed the sleeping rabbi/detective -- took his chain right off his neck -- and came towards me at the end of the car. He said, "Give me that camera!" And just at that moment, I lifted my camera and photographed him. And as I photographed him, [the detective] Billie moved in with the .38 and arrested him, so it was a simultaneous thing. One frame.

Q. So what we're seeing, the gentleman in red is actually a police officer.

A. Yeah, he's an undercover. And you see, he's sitting there in the middle of the train with a boombox and dark glasses in that kind of hip-hop clothing, and the robber [thinks], "Oh, I got a brother. He's going to help me. He's not going to say anything." And that was his fatal error.

The group was disbanded after awhile because the bait was too good. Sometimes the cops looked so good, I was going to rob them myself.

Q. What happened afterward? Are there other images from the incident?

A. He was arrested, and I felt sorry for him. As soon as he robbed me, they took him out and cuffed him. They took him right off the train at 42nd Street.

Then, I felt I couldn't photograph him being arrested at that moment. I didn't feel comfortable doing that, because he was cuffed and helpless.

Q. For you, when did this menacing but beautiful world of the subway begin to change?

A. Well, even in 1979, there were people trying to change both the city and the subway system. And now, today, if you would look in the subway, you'd think you're riding to a country club. The Lexington Avenue line is brand new. It's almost sterile, the subway. I couldn't do [the book] now.

The idea of seeing graffiti, even an inch of it, is so repugnant to the powers that be, that they just erase it. But of course, you can't stop it, because they etch it into the windows.

I'm not an advocate of graffiti, but it had its meaning. It was an extension of the personality of the people in front of it. It was like Medusa with the snakes growing out of her hair. So there were many layers of personal aesthetic meaning for me.

Q. Do you ride the subways much nowadays?

A. Oh sure. The subway is a great human equalizer. . . . We all take the subway. It's an incredible mode of transportation; it's fast. I'm kind of an insider subway rider. I like to miss the local, get on the express a few minutes later, and beat the local to my station. I'm a subway junkie and a subway jockey.

Copyright (c) 2004, Chicago Tribune

March 6th, 2004, 09:24 PM
March 7, 2004

It's Still the M Line for the Woman in Yellow


The photograph of Barbara Meyer at the Myrtle Avenue-Wyckoff Avenue stop in Brooklyn that appeared in "Subway," a 1986 book by Bruce Davidson, which has been reissued by St. Ann's Press.

Ms. Meyer at the same subway platform on Saturday. "I'm still in the same house, still in the same neighborhood, which is not a bad thing, though people tend to look at you kind of goofy," she said.

This may sound like an updated and urbanized version of "Girl With a Pearl Earring," the best seller and movie that imagined the life story of someone in a Vermeer painting. But Barbara Meyer, the woman the photographer Bruce Davidson snapped on a Brooklyn subway platform 24 years ago, is for real.

Her hair has gone from a dark, almost reddish blonde to a light, almost whitish blonde. And, she said with a chuckle the other day, Mr. Davidson's hair has disappeared. "He's bald as a cue ball," she said.

But that moment when the wind caught her dress? Let Mr. Davidson's memory go unchallenged: "It wasn't blowing it up around her knees like a Marilyn Monroe picture, it was just fluffing it," he said. "It was a delicate moment."

She was a 28-year-old financial-industry employee on her way home to Ridgewood, Queens, on the M line. Her wait at the Myrtle Avenue-Wyckoff Avenue stop in Bushwick was interrupted by the ca-chunk of Mr. Davidson's shutter. She heard him before she saw him closing in on her.

"He was about this far away from getting kicked in the teeth - he was getting a little close," she recalled. "He said, 'It's O.K., I can explain.' He explained it wasn't that I was so fabulous looking, it was that my dress was yellow, the other lady on the platform was in red, my shoes were green. It was the color play, the lighting, the whole mélange."

The photograph appeared in Mr. Davidson's book, "Subway," which was published in 1986.

And that was that, Ms. Meyer figured when she told the story to a colleague not long ago.

After all, a lot has happened in the last 24 years. She changed jobs a couple of times, and is now a vice president of a firm in Midtown Manhattan that buys and sells trade debt. She lived through the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, where she worked at the time . "Even though we were probably 50 floors below where the plane had hit," she recalled, "the walls had buckled and there were beams sticking out."

But recently the colleague noticed a poster-size image of the photograph in a Madison Avenue store window and realized that the woman on the left had to be Ms. Meyer.

Ms. Meyer did not know that Mr. Davidson's book had been reissued by St. Ann's Press or that photographs from "Subway" were on display at Hermès, the Madison Avenue outpost of the Paris fashion house that sells $120 ties and $295 scarves, among other items.

Racing to the store on her lunch hour, Ms. Meyer found herself staring at herself.

"I was sort of flabbergasted," she said last week. "I haven't heard about that picture in years, or heard from Bruce. I never thought it would wind up in a window, much less the Hermès window. And if you think about it, how many pictures were in that book, and they had to pick mine?"

The second edition of "Subway" has 101 photographs, 42 more than in the first edition. Ms. Meyer, who is on page 71, says they are "dark and menacing" reminders of how much nicer the subways are now.

"Can't say the same thing for service," she said.

Mr. Davidson said she is taller than he remembered. Ms. Meyer, who is 6 feet tall, remembered him as being shorter than his 5 feet 8 inches. But one thing has not changed: she still rides the M train.

"I'm still in the same house, still in the same neighborhood, which is not a bad thing, though people tend to look at you kind of goofy," she said.


"When you say you're 51 and live with your mom," she said. "People tend to measure your life in terms of are you married. I have my health, I have my faith, I learned to ski, starting at age 38, I've skied all over the place. I went through this business in the World Trade Center, so I don't think my life's been a loss because I don't have a husband and a dog and a cat."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

March 28th, 2004, 09:24 AM
http://graphics7.nytimes.com/packages/images/nyregion/20040327_SUBWAY_FEATURE/cty_SUBWAY_02_promo_184_01.gif (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2004/03/28/nyregion/20040327_SUBWAY_FEATURE_02.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1 080483773-FAI//aW2KoOhyGr8K7IV4w)