Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bruce Davidson in Wales

1965 was an interesting year for American Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson. He managed to finish his epic documentation of the Civil Rights Movement - a 4 year project that, in pictorial terms, continues to define that troubled era. He also found time to snap famous figures from the arts world: Truman Capote, Paul Newman, Joan Crawford, Anthony Quinn, John Cage, and The Supremes. In San Francisco he did a shoot for Esquire magazine in which he captured the daily routines of workers in a topless restaurant. Then, in the autumn of that same year, he came to Wales to do an assignment for Holiday magazine. The brief was to photograph some picturesque castles but Davidson got sidetracked and began shooting scenes from mining communities instead. I've no idea which mining towns formed the locations for his pictures. Davidson wasn't the first snapper (nor would he be the last) to see the aesthetic potential of these kinds of industrial settings. I really like Davidson's south Wales mining pics, even if, at times, they seem a tad heavy handed with their symbolism, such as the photo of an innocent child standing beside a gravestone. If you like the above picture have a look at the Magnum website to see the rest of his 1965 Welsh photographs.

The above photograph is the copyright of Bruce Davidson/Magnum