Photographer Bruce Davidson investigates a teenage gang in Brooklyn, New York, capturing the spirit of post-war youth culture that inspired the rival gangs of West Side Story
In 1959, photographer Bruce Davidson read about the teenage gangs of New York City and connected with a social worker to make initial contact with a gang in Brooklyn called “The Jokers.” For several months during the spring of that year, Davidson became a daily observer and photographer of this alienated youth culture.
Bruce Davidson, Magnum Photos
Brooklyn Gang, the complete series, includes more than 70 images. It has been excerpted frequently in collections, and was published as a whole in a 1998 edition by Twin Palms Publishers. The monograph, which includes nearly 70 sheet-fed gravure plates, concludes with a short recollection by the photographer and a lengthier interview with Bengie, a surviving gang member, who is now a drug counselor.
Bruce Davidson (b. 1933) has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1958. His work can be viewed at magnumphotos.com/brucedavidson, including additional images from the series Brooklyn Gang.