Bruce Cratsley


For more than two decades artist Bruce Cratsley has produced a personal and highly poetic body of work with the dominant theme being the mysteries of light and shadow. Cratsley's images of inanimate objects, urban street scenes, and portraits of his friends and lovers, possess a metaphysical peculiarity. Whether it be his exuberant pictures of Paris or New York, or light falling onto and through a window, we are ofter reminded of Eugène Atget, André Kertész, or Cratsley's mentor and friend, Lisette Model. But Cratsley's personal aesthetic is moored to contemporary concers, issues of the spirt, and mortality. Struck by AIDs, Cratsley's work gained greater immediacy. His intimate approach to the portrait reminds us again of life's ultimate potential and fragility. He passed in 1998 due to complications from AIDS.

Bruce Cratsley was born in 1944. A consummate New Yorker and partticipant in that city's art scene throughout the 1970's, '80's, and '90's. Cratsley held several positions as a curator and galleries before dedicating himself entirely to photography. In the early 1970's he befriended Peter Hujar (1937-1987), who encouraged him to pursue photography, and in 1972 he studied with Lisette Model (1906-1983) at the New School for Social Research. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in photography 1989-1990. Cratsley's work is in numerous private and institutional collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts , and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.