Solving Cities

Overlooked Los Angeles through the lens of Bruce Davidson

Overlooked Los Angeles through the lens of Bruce Davidson

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Rather than telling the personal stories with his camera that earned him a Guggenheim, Bruce Davidson's lens is now trained on a Los Angeles population that is often overlooked -- the trees.

Known for his iconic images of Brooklyn street gangs in the 50s, East 100th Street in Harlem, and the New York City subway, New York photographer Bruce Davidson has recently refocused his attention. Rather than telling the personal stories with his camera that earned him a Guggenheim, Davidson's lens is now trained on a Los Angeles population that is often overlooked -- the trees.

"I had this vision of the superhighways, the freeways, commingling with trees," Davidson recently told Elissa Curtis of The New Yorker: "People don't stop and look at how beautiful that 405, the interchange, is with these enormous, wonderful trees. Underneath the 405, ivy was growing. Nature clings, nature will adapt, nature will find a way to live. Even under concrete. Nature is there: surrounding the grid of the city itself."

These photographs, part of an ongoing "Nature of Los Angeles" series, tell the story that moves beyond the stories of concrete that often color depictions of the West Coast metropolis. "LA is a place you can take for granted," said Davidson, "But to hone in, and to look at something as magnificent as these enormous, wonderful trees. It's not natural to fall in love with a palm tree. You'd have to have your head examined. But I did."

[The New Yorker]

Some of Davidson's other work will be available for public view at the New York Photo Festival as part of Glenn Ruga's "The Razor’s Edge: Between Documentary and Fine Art Photography," May 16-20.

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Claire Lambrecht

Contributing Writer

Claire Lambrecht has written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, The Nation, and CBS MoneyWatch. Previously, she taught English as a Teach for America Corps Member and Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. She holds degrees from Cornell University, the University of Hawaii, and the Arthur M. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure