Living the Dream

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 An indelible image from Selma resonates across the decades

In 1961 photographer Bruce Davidson went down to the volatile South, alone and not on assignment. felt it necessary to explore and expose things,”he says. never thought. I reacted to the humanity around me.”

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Over five years, Davidson documented the efforts of blacks and whites which culminated in the Selma marches of 1965. The three nonviolent demonstrations, meant to promote black voter registration, became a turning point in the fight as photographers and television cameras captured the brutality inflicted on peaceful protesters.

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As events unfolded, Davidson captured the demonstrators, whose and humility”amazed him. Not once during the protest did he use a telephoto lens. wanted to be in it, I wanted to be touched by the marchers, physically touching, physically close to the emotions that were there.”He didnknow the people in the photo above, and he wasneven sure what was on the young manface (cold cream, he speculates). Eschewing analysis in favor of pure, in-the-moment image creation, he simply got in close and snapped his 35mm Leica. An iconic image was born.

Asked about politics, Davidson says, is political. Itjust a word. I choose not politics, but humanity and all its manifestations. I donsee myself as an activist, but I am, my photographs are. Just being there is important.”

As is voting. See you at the polls.

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