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Strange and Familiar: Bruce Davidson

Photo from Strange and Familiar
20 Apr 2016
2 min read

Forget images of tourist London and Union Jack flags. Bruce Davidson discusses his vision of England as seen in Strange and Familiar. 

Bruce Davidson’s vision of Britain, seen in Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers, gets to the heart of society, revealing the stark contrasts between city and country life, of the landed gentry and the common people.

In extracts from his photography books exploring his travels around the United Kingdom, Bruce Davidson discusses his experiences…

I began to realize that my view of England and Scotland was not going to be that of Big Ben, the Tower of London, or the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

‘It was to be more about people seen on the streets of London or in the rolling landscapes. It was about people having lunch in tiny London sandwich shops, people strolling on the wet sand when the tide was out, having formal tea along the seaside, ladies in white playing bowls on manicured lawns, or sheep herders with their obedient dogs along the moors. It was a personal quest I was having in a country with a rich history. I soon realized that I could not possibly convey it all. I could only follow my instincts and trust my intuition wherever it led me over the months of exploration. Perhaps it was best this way, and certainly more natural to me.’ England/Scotland, Steidl, 2012.

Color could articulate the grim reality in a way that black and white might not

‘At times I used two Leica camera bodies, one loaded with daylight Ektachrome and the other black-and-white Ilford HP-3. What both attracted and repelled me was the perseverance of the miners, emerging from deep, dark, and dangerous mine shafts with their flesh fused with coal dust and perspiration day after day, life after life.’ Bruce Davidson: In Color, Steidl, 2014.

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