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Dan Budnik

American Photographer | Born: 1933

Dan Budnik (b.1933, Long Island, NY) studied painting at the Art Students’ League of New York. After being drafted, he started photographing the New York school of Abstracts Expressionist and Pop Artists in the mid-fifties, making it a primary focus for several decades. He made major photo-essays on Willem de Kooning and David Smith, among many other artists. It was his teacher Charles Alston at the Art Students’ League of New York, the first African American to teach at the League, who inspired his interest in documentary photography and the budding Civil Rights Movement.

In 1957 he started working at Magnum Photos, New York, assisting several photographers, notably Cornell Capa, Burt Glinn, Eve Arnold, Ernst Haas, Eric Hartmann and Elliott Erwitt. In March 1958 Budnik travelled to live with the underground in Havana for 6 weeks during the Cuban revolution. Budnik continued to work with Magnum for half of his time, until joining as an associate member in 1963. In 1964 he left Magnum and continued specializing in essays for leading national and international magazines, focussing on civil and human rights, ecological issues and artists.

Since 1970 Budnik has worked with the Hopi and Navaho traditional people of northern Arizona, and received for this work a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1973 and a Polaroid Foundation Grant in 1980. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Honor Roll Award of the American Society of Media Photographers. He lives and works in Tucson and Flagstaff, Arizona.

Source: danbudnik.com

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Dan Budnik: Picturing Artists, 1950s-1960s
Author: Irving Sandler, James Enyeart, Dan Budnik, David Sylvester
Publisher: Knoedler & Company
Year: 2007 - Pages: 128
The young Jasper Johns stands atop a small ladder to smooth one of the gridlines on his silver "Numbers" painting of 1964. He is wearing an oddly coordinated padded silver jumpsuit, mindless of the camera that captures him mid-gesture. Photographed the same year, Roy Lichtenstein strides thoughtfully across his studio floor while his two young sons read from dozens of comic books spread out all over the rug. In 1967, Diane Arbus leans against a tabletop at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, nonchalant in a chic white minidress and matching thigh-high boots, while her camera hangs heavily around her neck. This deluxe collection of intimate, highly compelling color and black-and-white photographs includes portraits of many of the most important and pioneering artists of the postwar period in American art. The series, which includes studies of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston, Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Nevelson, Barnett Newman, Isamu Noguchi, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko and many others, was, in fact, initially inspired by the work of Cartier-Bresson, from whom Budnik learned to adopt an attitude of anonymity with respect to his subjects, working--as noted photo historian James Enyeart writes in his catalogue essay--"at the periphery of their attentiveness to his camera." Features outstanding essays by Enyeart and Irving Sandler, America's premier chronicler of postwar American art, as well as a reprint of a little-known essay by the influential British art critic and curator David Sylvester, which was originally published alongside Budnik's photographs in 1964.
 
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