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Bruce Davidson Photograph Collection: Welcome

Images and descriptions of photographs in the Bruce Davidson Photograph Collection

About This Guide

This resource guide was designed to provide information about the Bruce Davidson Photography Collection at Columbia College. To navigate this guide, click on the tabs above or the Table of Contents below. Tabs with a down arrow have subpages under them. If you need help, please contact us!

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An anonymous donor recently gifted a collection of more than 360 photos taken by world-renowned photographer Bruce Davidson to Columbia College, with an appraised value of $1.2 million according to Penelope Dixon and Associates of New York.

“This is truly a landmark gift for our institution, and we appreciate the generous donation of some of Mr. Davidson’s most recognized works,” said Dr. Scott Dalrymple, president of Columbia College. “These photos will certainly inspire our art students for years to come. The prints will also impact students across many disciplines, as they focus on the different social events that occurred during the 20th and 21st centuries.”

For more than six decades, Davidson, a veteran of the U.S. Army, captured some of the most iconic photos in the world. He worked to blend into his subject’s life by spending extensive amounts of time in their everyday world. Shooting predominantly in black and white, some of his more well-known photos were taken as part of the Brooklyn Gang collection in the late ’50s where he, according to the international photographic cooperative Magnum Photos, “became a daily observer and photographer of this alienated youth culture.”

Davidson also captured several of the more powerful photos surrounding the Civil Rights movement during his Time of Change collection spanning 1961-65. In an article in the New Yorker in 2013, the series not only showed “us protests and violence, it also documents the social and economic circumstances in New York City, Chicago, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama.”

Davidson’s work has been published in The New York Times, Time, LIFE, Vogue, and Esquire, and he has exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Walker Art Center, among others. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Center of Photography in 2018.

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This guide was created by  Vandy Evermon at the request of Danielle Langdon and Scott McMahon of the Art Department in April 2021.

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