Santa Barbara, California, December 03, 2008 Verso Limited Editions, a publisher of handcrafted books that celebrate the work of significant photographers, announced the March 2009 publication of Bruce Davidson: Central Park in Platinum. Produced in a limited edition of 50 books, this hand-bound collection will contain twelve bound platinum prints and two free-standing platinum prints. Each print is numbered and signed by Davidson. The book includes an introduction by Charlotte Cotton, curator and department head of photography at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
“Platinum is known as a precious metal. It’s a noble metal in that it is beautiful, helpful and catalytic. When used in making a platinum print, it allows for a greater tonal range and subtlety in the final print. The craftsmanship of this project is beyond what I could ever achieve using silver gelatin,” said the photographer, Bruce Davidson, upon viewing the first completed commerce edition. “It is as if the Central Park imagery has been reborn and a new vision of the imagery holds true. The Platinum portfolio has brought me closer to my original vision and closer to the nature of the Park.”
“For over 40 years, Bruce Davidson has been one of my heroes,” said Glen Serbin, president of Verso Limited Editions. “As a boy, his work inspired me to follow a path in professional photography. I am honored, as well as humbled, to have the opportunity to publish this remarkable photographer’s work in platinum. The entire process has been a labor of love.”
When he left military service in 1957, Davidson worked as a freelance photographer for LIFE magazine and in 1958, at the age of 25, became a full member of Magnum. From 1958 to 1961, he created such seminal bodies of work as “The Dwarf,” “Brooklyn Gang,” and “Freedom Rides.” He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1962 and created a profound documentation of the civil rights movement in America. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his early work in a solo show.
In 1967, he received the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts, having spent two years witnessing the dire social conditions on one block in East Harlem. This work was published by Harvard University Press in 1970 under the title East 100th Street and was later republished and expanded by St. Ann’s Press. The work became an exhibition that same year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1980, he captured the vitality of the New York Metro’s underworld that was later published in a book, Subway, and exhibited at the International Center for Photography in 1982. From 1991-95 he photographed the landscape and layers of life in Central Park. In 2006, he completed a series of photographs titled “The Nature of Paris,” many of which have been shown and acquired by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Davidson received an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998 to return to East 100th Street. His awards include the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004 and a Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. Classic bodies of work from his 50-year career have been extensively published in monographs and are included in many major public and private fine art collections around the world. He continues to photograph and produce new bodies of work.
For the magazine, Davidson had not found enough of the sensationalized, underworld violence credited to New York’s neglected park. For himself, he had discovered that this still magnificent landscape could not be shown through the saccharine tint of color. Once the commission had been cancelled, Davidson began the real work of finding the essence of the park’s diverse terrain in black and white. In these exquisite platinum prints, we comprehend just how essential monochromatic tonality is to Davidson’s vision of Central Park.
In June of 2007, Verso released Magnum Founders, In Celebration of Sixty Years, a limited-edition collection of platinum prints celebrating the 60th anniversary of Magnum Photos, the photographic co-operative founded by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David “Chim” Seymour. Magnum Founders includes twelve bound and one free-standing rare platinum, estate-stamped prints of iconic images by these four visionaries who influenced the course of modern photographic history.
Magnum Founders was honored in May of 2008 by the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) Competition’s first Distinguished Leadership in Photojournalism Award. Produced in a limited edition of 75, there are currently just eight editions of Magnum Founders still available for purchase.
For more information on Verso Limited Editions please visit http://www.versoeditions.com.