Buildings have always lent themselves well to black and white photography. The deliberate contours and lines of structures are wonderfully contrasted, while the geometry of an architect’s work is full celebrated. New York, of course, is a mecca for urban development and therefore a perfect place for Bevan Davies to explore and document.
Bevan Davies studied photography with Bruce Davidson, at the University of Chicago in early 1960’s and benefitted greatly through mentoring from Diane Arbus later in that decade. After working the street in both daylight and evening hours, photographing people at odds with society, with a hand camera, Davies changed his working methodology to describing the physical environs of the street: the building facades, alleys and streets with a tripod mounted view camera.
This change in subject and approach resulted in Davies most celebrated work. Created in 1975/76, Bevan Davies’ architectural photographs situated themselves wholly within the dictum laid forth by William Jenkins, as “New Topographics”. In fact, Davies writes of his approach as, “an effort being made to let the camera almost see by itself”. This notion was carried further by the late photographer, Lewis Baltz, who in 1976, referred to Davies’ photographs as, “rigorously contemporary, while acknowledging a use of the camera which dates from the inception of the medium”. The New York facades, taken in the early morning hours and devoid of people, describe spaces defined by light and shadow. They depict a specific time and place, as seen by the window dressings and signage, as well as portray a formal grace among the building’s details that are included within Davies’ camera frame. New York is the first comprehensive exhibition of Davies’ photographs in over two decades.
Opening March 14th, the public will be able to view the exhibit at Joseph bellows until May 9th.
For More Information: Joseph Bellows Gallery