Bruce Davidson's groundbreaking Subway, first published by Aperture in 1986, has garnered critical acclaim both as a documentation of a unique moment in the cultural fabric of New York City and for its phenomenal use of extremes of color and shadow set against flash-lit skin. In Davidson's own words, the people in the subway, their flesh juxtaposed against the graffiti, the penetrating effect of the strobe light itself, and even the hollow darkness of the tunnels, inspired an aesthetic that goes unnoticed by passengers who are trapped underground, hiding behind masks and closed off from each other. In this third edition of what is now a classic of photographic literature, a sequence of 118 (including 25 previously unpublished) images transport the viewer through a landscape at times menacing, and at other times lyrical and soulful. The images present the full gamut of New Yorkers, from weary straphangers and languorous ladies in summer dresses to stalking predators and homeless persons. Davidson's accompanying text tells the story behind the images, clarifying his method and dramatizing his obsession with the subway, its rhythms and its particular madness.
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Bruce Davidson is an award-winning photographer whose career spans nearly sixty years. He became a member of Magnum Photos in 1958, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1967 and 1980, the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004, and a Gold Medal of Honor Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. His work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Aperture Foundation, New York.Review:
Subway is Davidson's visceral take on the New York underground system of the 1980s complete with beleagured passengers, Guardian Angels, graffiti and a palpable, all-pervasive sense of fear. A glimpse of a New York that is already long gone. –The Guardian
Here, the enclosed world of the subway is a metaphor for New York itself, in all its frantic hustle and bustle—its violence, its humanity and its hope. –The Guardian
Bruce Davidson’s Subway... has become iconic for its juxtaposition of humanity against urban machinery. –Artinfo
The brilliant flash, combined with fluorescent lighting, intense colors and Davidson's probing vision, produced images that are dramatic and at times surreal. –Photo District News
Essentially, Davidson’s images manage to hark back to a forgotten New York City, while simultaneously tapping into a contemporary sense of why New York, with all is attitudes, is still seen to be one of the globe’s most vibrant and happening urban cities. –Wings
...Davidson was able to capture an ominous, hautingly poetic, and emotional atmosphere. – Juxtapoz
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