(American, b. 1933)
Gelatin silver print
Paper: 20.3 x 25.4 cm (8 x 10 in.)
© Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos
Gift of an anonymous donor 2018.712
One of Davidson’s best-known series, Brooklyn Gang was inspired by a news story he read about a teenage gang called the Jokers.
Gang membership was exclusively male, but the members’ girlfriends appear frequently in Davidson’s photographs. Some of the pictures depict the teenagers exploring lust and love and the boys struggling to define and prove their masculinity. Here a boy struggles to hold the attention of a girl, first by charm and then by demonstrating his strength in age-old courting rituals. Looking back at the series in 1998, Davidson said that he felt “the reason that body of work has survived is that it’s about emotion. That kind of mood and tension and sexual vitality, that’s what those pictures were really about.”
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