Leica will be bestowing American photographer Bruce Davidson with the Leica Hall of Fame Award on June 15, 2018. In his honour, a selection of pictures from his extensive archive will be shown in the context of a major exhibition that will open to the public in the Leica Gallery in Wetzlar from June 15 until September 9, 2018.
‘Viewers past and present are inescapably drawn to the mixture of intimacy and detachment, curiosity and nonchalance, documentation and compassion, and his uniquely personal view of the world. Even so, the secrets of his pictures are still not revealed in all their facets. It is possible that precisely this is the decisive reason why we revisit his evocative images, time and time again. With the Leica Hall of Fame Award, we are now honouring Bruce Davidson for his lifework and his untiring and equally outstanding engagement as a photographer’, says Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Art Director & Chief Representative Leica Galleries International.
Bruce Davidson was born in 1933 and raised in New York City. He began taking photographs at the age of ten. In his last year at high school, Davidson won first prize in the animal life category of the Kodak National High School Photographic Award. Afterwards, he went to the Rochester Institute of Technology and studied photography, and began work as a darkroom technician at Eastman Kodak after graduation. In 1954, he bought his first Leica M3. Davidson eventually held his first solo exhibition at the MOMA New York in 1963. Since then, he has been honoured with numerous awards and prizes.
Throughout the years, Bruce Davidson’s photographs have become inscribed in the canon of the most important reportages and documentary records of everyday life in the USA. These include ‘Brooklyn Gang’, ‘East 100th Street’ and ‘Subway’ – and the story of Jimmy Armstrong, the dwarf-clown of the Beatty circus. His sensitive portrait series most often provides startling insights into worlds otherwise closed to the viewer’s eyes.