B. September 19, 1854 – D. December 26, 1930
Davidson was active in photography at the turn of the century, when photographers were moving away from sharp images towards a more impressionistic type of photography, using differential focusing, and sometimes entirely soft focusing. (See Impressionism.)
One of Davidson’s main critics was Peter Henry Emerson, a brilliant but arrogant man who clearly had little regard for him, describing him as “an amateur without training and with superficial knowledge.” – a rather unkind response to someone who had been an enthusiastic fan of Emerson’s ideas on Naturalistic photography.
However, Davidson pay little attention to the individual and focus on the work. He was evidently highly regarded by others, and his picture “The Onion Field” received much acclaim. That same year he was invited by the Royal Society of Arts to lecture on Impressionist Photography, something that established him as a leading figure.
In 1891 Davidson and others left the Royal Photographic Society to set up their own organization, call the Linked Ring also known as “The Brotherhood of the Linked Ring. From which Davidson was an important founder-member. The Linked Ring was committed to promote photographic pictorialism. Famous members of the Brotherhood, (which was by invitation only) included William Smedley-Aston, Frederick H. Evans, Paul Martin, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Frederick Hollyer, Richard Keene, Zaida Ben-Yusuf, Gertrude Käsebier and Carine Cadby, Also American photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz and Clarence H. White form part of the organization.
in 1897, Davidson became an assistant manager in Eastman Photographic Materials Company. His first task was to organize a big competition and exhibition of amateur photography in London. The event was successful and visited by more than 25,000 visitors during the three weeks of its duration.