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"When you are in the Subway, what is beautiful appears bestial, and what is bestial appears beautiful." Bruce Davidson
In 1980 Bruce Davidson began photographing the New York subway system, venturing regularly into this intoxicating, sometimes dangerous subterranean world. At first Davidson photographed in black and white, but he soon realised colour was necessary to depict the intensity of this graffiti-covered landscape. Originally published in 1986, this updated Steidl edition of Subway is printed from new scans of Davidson’s Kodachrome slides and features additional images.
“Go back into the subway and look beyond the graffiti. Lift up your heads and look around, see what Bruce has revealed – the beauty in the subway population, the enormous amount of colour, the varieties and pleasures to be seen from the subway. The shrill insistence of the noise in our ears and of the graffiti to our eyes does not end the catalogue of effects the subway has on our senses. Bruce Davidson has reopened and rewritten that catalogue with this magnificent series of photographs. Light, colour, humanity, affection, and hope can be added to our impressions of the New York subway system.” Henry Geldzahler
About the Photographer:
Bruce Davidson, born in 1933 in Oak Park in the US, began photographing as a youth and studied art at the Rochester Institute of Technology and at Yale University – in the class of Josef Albers among others. In 1957, during his military service near Paris he became acquainted with Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of the renowned agency MAGNUM Photos. Following this he worked as a photographer for LIFE magazine and his first series were published here. In 1958 Bruce Davidson became a member of MAGNUM Photos. In his numerous photographic projects he primarily documents people in an urban context – in 1959 members of a gang in Brooklyn, from 1961 to 1965 civil rights activists, from 1966 to 1968 the residents of one neglected block in East Harlem, in 1980 passengers on the New York subway and from 1992 to 1995 the Central Park and its users. Bruce Davidson’s works have been exhibited worldwide in numerous institutions and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, International Center of Photography in New York, Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and the Tate Modern in London. He has twice received a scholarship from the foundation "National Endowment for the Arts", as well as a Guggenheim scholarship. In 2004 he was awarded with the Lucie Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography" and in 2007 with the "Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award" by the National Arts Club. Bruce Davidson lives and works in New York City.
2nd Edition (01/2015) of the New Revised Edition published by Steidl in June 2013
Edited by Bruce Davidson and Amina Lakhaney
Texts by Fred Braithwaite, Bruce Davidson and Henry Geldzahler
140 pages, 117 colour plates
29.5 cm x 29 cm
Hardcover with a dustjacket