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‘I Spy’ Some Candid Photography at the National Gallery of Art

From Bruce Davidson's "Subway"

Few things reveal us as the animalistic humanity that we are more readily than candid photography, especially since in a lot of ways it’s hard to figure out exactly what candid photography is. Anyone who’s ever tried to photograph someone, unposed and casual, knows that as soon as the camera comes out, generally, something tiny and vital changes in the subject’s demeanor, and the whole message and intent of the shot changes, because then it’s a portrait and not a snapshot. Maybe the images on display in the new I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938-2010, aren’t even candids, really, although lots of them were shot with a tiny camera and without warning (many of Bruce Davidson’s were not, because Bruce Davidson was shooting pictures in the New York City subway in 1980 and 1981. You know how crazy you’d have to be to walk around the New York City subway in 1980 taking pictures randomly? Crazier than Bruce Davidson, at least.) They are fascinating, though, images from a time when things in America were far less homogeneous than they are now, and they’re up at the National Gallery through August 5. (FULL ARTICLE: Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post)