The charming Menil collection gives an exhibit of the most significant photographs of Bruce Davidson, under the title “Collection Close-Up: Bruce Davidon’s Photographs”. Bruce Davidson, an American photographer, was active between 1956 and 1995. Like his humanist peers of the time, he spent significant efforts in documenting what he called “worlds in transition”. Whether in heavily industrialised South Wales in the 50’s, or in Brooklyn, Birmingham, Alabama, Central Park or Harlem, he took the time to build a rapport with his subjects. The result is stunning. Close-ups on the lives of those people, documentation of their surroundings, life styles, encounters. The little boy on a steep road with the contrast of white washes on a backdrop of industry stacks, the teenaged girl checking her hairdo in a cigarettes dispenser, the defiant young black lady caught by two white cops, with in the background the title of a movies echoing the situation, the old lady in her kitchen under the protection of St Theresa and the honourable gentlemen in a cafeteria were the most significant pictures for me. The Menil has a large collection of photographs but does not always show them. This exhibit of Davidson’s photographs is an effort to be praised. Let’s hope more such initiatives will follow.

South wales, 1965 ©Bruce Davidson – Gift of Joe C. Aker in memory of Edna Faye Cornett Aker
Brooklyn gang, 1959 ©Bruce Davidson – Anonymous gift
Damn the defiant, Birmingham Alabama, 1963 ©Bruce Davidson – Gift of Edmund Carpenter and Adelaide de Menil
East 100th street, 1966 ©Bruce Davidson – Anonymous gift
Garden Cafeteria, 1973 ©Bruce Davidson – Anonymous gift

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