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Lift Your Head: Bruce Davidson and the Evolution of Seeing

Photograph from Bruce Davidson's exhibition Lift Your Head

Lift Your Head

Bruce Davidson and the Evolution of Seeing

California Museum of Photography

October 24, 2020 to February 27, 2022

An exhibition of works by Bruce Davidson from the permanent collection that explores historic context and viewer response as key factors in the evolution of meaning in photographs.

Photographer Bruce Davidson (b. 1933 Oak Park, Illinois) is known for his intimate and humanist approach to documentary photography. Through remembering the historical context in which he worked and the opposing views his work provoked, this exhibition explores how understanding and “reading” documentary photography has evolved over the past half century. Davidson never claimed to be driven by ideology or agenda; his art was born from his roving curiosity, a deep desire for human connection, and the willingness to be patient. But despite the artist’s best intentions to simply immerse and observe, ideologies and agendas can manifest far beyond the frame when it comes to documenting the world, and it is within this resulting conversation that we can find meaning in images.

The exhibition features photographs from some of Davidson’s best-known projects, including Brooklyn Gang, Time of Change, East 100th Street, and Subway.

Curator: Sarah Bay Gachot

Thank you to our sponsors: UCR College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and the City of Riverside.

Image: Bruce Davidson, Birmingham, Alabama, 1963. From the series Times of Change, 1961-1965. Gelatin silver print, mid-vintage, 11×14 inches. © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos.