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Bruce Davidson: Central Park

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2002

    Photography As Psychological Self-Portrait

    Photography As Psychological Self-Portrait This retrospective of Mr. Bruce Davidson¿s work is extremely interesting. You get a flavor of different sides of famous people you¿ve probably never heard, seen or thought about. Mr. Davidson¿s work covers so many years, that you also feel like you are seeing a retrospective of American society. In addition, the unusual subjects for these images will tell you quite a lot about the human qualities that Mr. Davidson prefers. Portraits also provides insider notes about what it was like capturing these images. The story about taking the shot of Brad Pitt will amaze you. In addition, you will be pleased with the quality of the reproductions and the size of the images in most cases. Technically, the only thing that bothered me was Mr. Davidson¿s preference for harshly cropping out part of the person or the central objects in the image, giving many of the works an Alex Katz-like feel transferred into photography. Sometimes this technique worked well, but often it felt artificial and destructive to the artistic expression. My favorite images in this volume included (in the order in which they appear): The Supremes, Apollo Theater, New York City, 1965 (putting on make-up); Dion, Bronx, 1975; Leonard Bernstein, rehearsing a young people¿s concert, New York City, 1959; John Cage, at his home in upstate New York, 1965; Edward Steichen, Redding, Connecticut, 1963; Robert Indiana and Andy Warhol in Warhol¿s studio, New York City, 1964; Linus Pauling, Stanford University, 1971; James Meredith with his son, Central Park, New York City, 1966; Robert F. Kennedy, Washington D.C., 1966; Robert McNamara, Washington, D.C., 1966; Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis and their children, New York City, 1962; Sharon Olds, Martha¿s Vineyard, Massachusetts, 1989; Samuel Beckett, rehearsal for Waiting for Godot, New York City, 1964; Arthur Miller, Inge Morath, and their daughter Rebecca, New York City, 1987; Athol Fugard, his daughter Lisa, and wife Sheila, New York City, 1982; filming of The Misfits (dust jacket front image), near Reno, Nevada, 1960; Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, and Marilyn Monroe, Beverly Hills, California, 1960; Anthony Quinn and his twins, Malaga, Spain, 1965; Ava Gardner, filming of The Sun Also Rises, Mexico City, 1958; and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Westport, Connecticut 1965. Seeing these images made me realize that when the real person is exposed the result is often vastly more appealing than the ¿official¿ image of that celebrity. I began to wonder why people are so caught up with artificial images that may do them harm. Why not let the photographer help others discover who you really are? Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise

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