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Photo Contest Insider Blog

Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award

March 8, 2011

Bruce Davidson is to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award at this year‟s Sony World Photography Awards. He will be honoured at the annual gala award ceremony at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on Wednesday 27 April amongst leading figures of the international photography community. An exhibition of his work will be shown as part of the World Photography Festival at Somerset House in London.

Scott Gray, Managing Director of the World Photography Organisation comments: “We are proud to honour Bruce Davidson at the forthcoming Sony World Photography Awards for his truly outstanding contribution to photography. As a founding member of our World Photographic Academy, Bruce has been part of our family since we first launched the awards. We are thrilled to be awarding a friend and true master of photography.”

In a career spanning more than half a century, Davidson is one of America‟s most distinguished photographers. He joined a circus in 1958, followed a gang in Brooklyn in 1959; chronicled the civil rights movement from 1961 to 1965; documented one neglected block of East Harlem from 1966 to 1968; discovered colour in the NYC Subway in 1980 and explored Central Park from 1992 to 1995.

Bruce Davidson was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1933. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. After completing his military service in 1957 he worked as a photographer for Life Magazine and in 1958, Henri Cartier-Bresson invited him to join Magnum Photos. He continues to be an active member.

His work has been exhibited at many major institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, The International Center of Photography, The Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, The Aperture Foundation in New York, and The Foundation Cartier-Bresson in Paris and Tate Modern in London. He has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004 and the Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. His photographs have appeared in numerous publications and his prints have been acquired by major museums worldwide. He has also directed three films.

At the age of 77, Davidson continues to lecture, conduct workshops and produce astounding images. He lives in New York City with his wife, Emily.

An exhibition of Bruce Davidson‟s work will be on display in the Terrace Rooms at Somerset House in London from 26 April – 22 May as part of the World Photography Organisation festival. The exhibition, selected by Bruce Davidson with Simon Baker, curator of photography and international art, Tate, will include some of his most famous works from the East 100th Street and Circus collections.

Simon Baker comments: „Bruce Davidson is undoubtedly one of the foremost photographers living today and richly deserves this Outstanding Contribution Award. His work shows the rare combination of absolute commitment to his subjects, and a sophisticated visual sensibility. This is nowhere more evident than in the stunning three-volume catalogue raisonnée of his work Outside Inside, only recently published, but already acknowledged as a landmark publication.‟

Bruce Davidson will also be one of five photographers to take part in the “In the Photographer‟s Studio” series at the World Photography Festival. Hosted by Simon Baker the event, on Tuesday 26 April, will uncover the personal story behind Bruce‟s distinguished career.

Details can be found at