Bruce Davidson joined Magnum Photos at the age of 25 in 1958, things were going well for this photographer. Brooklyn Gang is a body of work Davidson created throughout 1959. Davidson would read the local newspaper to read upon fights that would happen near by and travel to them and photograph the gangs in those areas…
"I met a group of teenagers called the Jokers," he wrote in the afterword to his seminal book of insider reportage, Brooklyn Gang. "I was 25 and they were about 16. I could easily have been taken for one of them.” Davidson seemed extremely confident with what he had in front of him, children who were 9 years younger that were gang members in postwar Brooklyn. The way he said he worked was by building close relationships with the locals and gang members, talk about anything and mess around with them too, he wrote "I soon realised that I, too, was feeling their pain. In staying close to them, I uncovered my own feelings of failure, frustration and rage.” Becoming so close and immersed in the lives of the people round him, and the environment it was inevitable for Davidson to feel the same emotions as these members. He was living their lives with them too and living his at the same time, capturing moments of freedom and captivity and the rawness of the streets as a kid.
This image of 4 young boys and a hand creeping into the frame on the bottom left, shows to me a comfortable and proud group of boys, yet rebellious. The boy stood up in the foreground with a cigarette in his mouth, with shades on, appearing to be looking at the advertising for a coke advert is the consumeristic value of this image. What I find interesting is what has been excluded from his frame… The boys in the background are looking at something and seem very concentrated, I would suggest there is a TV or a big window just ti the left of the frame. I would think that it is a TV as the light hitting the boys is that much like a TV, and they seem fixated on something in the moment whilst eating their food. It almost feels like a family, they have created their own little crib and have a group of very close friends. Also Davidsons approach to this work is very impacting, because he is familiar with these boys then they pretty much ignore the process of image making so the shots have a candid feels dn have captured some very important moments in their and his life.