Launching Bruce Davidson: An Illustrated Biography


With the publication of Bruce Davidson by Vicki Goldberg on May 4, 2016, we continue the series of illustrated biographies about the lives of Magnum photographers behind their well-known photographs. 

This second book is the first ever full length biography of Bruce Davidson, tracing his life through the prism of his work and archives.

Bruce Davidson is one of this country’s most acclaimed documentary photographers. His work records the key events of his times, from the 1950s youth gang culture that foretold the rebellious 1960s to the struggle for civil rights and the conditions that made that struggle imperative in both the South and the North, to the crime-ridden New York of the 1970s. Author of such classic photo books as “East 100th Street,” “Subway,” and “Brooklyn Gang.”

Davidson started photographing as a kid on the streets of Chicago in the 1940s. He uses his camera as a means of connection discovering something inside himself while creating an emotional bond with his subjects. He continues to work today at age 82.

Davidson has been a member of the Magnum photographer’s collective for more than fifty-seven years, almost his entire professional life and this creative community has served as an important framework and anchor to his career. 

“In 2007, the members of Magnum formed the Magnum Foundation, which supports preservation and scholarship in the history of documentary photography. It also expands the possibilities for socially engaged photographic practice by fostering diverse voices and creative approaches across disciplines,” says Kristen Lubben, Executive Director of the Magnum Foundation. “This series of biographies adds to our understanding of this rich history.”

The Magnum Legacy series addresses the creative processes of Magnum photographers, from the agency’s early founders to more contemporary members, weaving together biographical text, archival materials, and iconic imagery. Published in partnership with Prestel, each book includes a comprehensive biography by a leading author supplemented by contact sheets, caption notes, tear sheets, and diaries, as well as an illustrated chronology of the photographer’s life.

“Little has been published about how the personal experiences of these renowned photographers shaped their commitment to telling stories. This series invites us to imagine their world on the other side of the lens,” said Andrew E. Lewin, Managing Editor. “The ultimate goal is to produce books that work on many different levels, and appeal to the general reader as well as someone with a particular interest in the photographer. 


The next title in the Magnum Legacy series will be Inge Morath by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Linda Gordon, coming out in fall 2017, to be followed by Josef Koudelka by Melissa Harris in 2018. Photo historian Carole Naggar is the series editor.

Simone Salvo