Bruce Davidson "The Jokers" A Brooklyn Gang
Posted on January 19 2017
Bruce Davidsons career started at just 10 years old when his Mum built him a dark room in their home at Oak Park, Illinois. Drafted into the army he met Henri Cartier-Bresson a founding member of Magnum Photographic Co-operative during his time in Paris.
Fascinated by the many gangs of New York his attention piqued when he saw a newspaper article about street fighting in Prospect Park, he travelled across the Brooklyn Bridge in search of a gang to photograph, he connected with the "Jokers" in 1959 and would go on to document them over the course of a few months. He went to Coney Island with them during the summer, in fact whilst most of the gang members were around 16 years old; Davidson himself was only 25 and could probably have passed as one of the gang members.
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Davidson found this project particularly stressful and having been surrounded with all this potential violence he felt he needed a break. He took a job photographing Marilyn Monroe on "The Misfits in the Nevada desert", he then travelled to London for "The Queen" magazine. "The Queen' was a magazine devoted to British life-style and Davidson was to spend a couple of months travelling around England and Scotland resulting in his series "England and Scotland 1960".
It's fascinating for us as a British brand to look at the stark differences between the shoot he did with the Jokers and just a year later right here in the U.K.