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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Bruce Davidson: Brooklyn Gang

Cleveland Museum of Art / Cleveland / Art

In the late 1950s, the photographer Bruce Davidson encountered the Jokers, a teenage street gang whose home turf was Park Slope, Brooklyn. At the time, the area was impoverished and predominantly Irish. “I was 26 and they were 15,” Davidson explains, “but I could see my own repression in them and I began to feel a connection to their desperation.” He accompanied the Jokers to candy stores, hung with them on street corners, and even took them on a jaunt to Coney Island. All the while, Davidson photographed them candidly, in powerful black-and-white images that capture disillusionment, but also moments of freedom and happiness. —E.C.

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