Bruce Davidson (born September 5, 1933) is an American photographer. He has been a member of the Magnum Photos agency since 1958. His photographs, notably those taken in Harlem, New York City, have been widely exhibited and published. He is known for photographing communities usually hostile to outsiders.
Davidson was born on September 5, 1933 in Oak Park, Illinois. At age 10, his mother built him a darkroom in their basement and Davidson began taking photographs. Soon after, he approached a local photographer who taught him the technical nuances of photography, in addition to lighting and printing skills. His artistic influences included Robert Frank, Eugene Smith, and Henri Cartier-Bresson
At 19, Davidson won his first national recognition for his photography, the 1952 Kodak National High School Photographic Award, for a picture of an owl. After he graduated from high school, Davidson attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. Following college, Davidson was drafted into the US Army, where he served in the Signal Corps at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, attached to the post's photo pool. Initially, he was given routine photo assignments. Undaunted, Davidson created out of seemingly mundane material unique photo studies. After his military service, in 1957, Davidson worked briefly as a freelance photographer.