Partner William Leight

Queer Places:
Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave, Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA
The New School, 72 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011, Stati Uniti

David Bruce Cratsley (December 24, 1944 - June 30, 1998) was an American photographer specialized in still lifes, portraits of friends, and gay life in New York City.[1] He had a reputation of master of light and shadow.[2]

David Bruce Cratsley was born in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania on December 24, 1944.[1][3]

Cratsley attended Swarthmore College, graduating in 1966, and then, in the early 1970s, The New School for Social Research, studying under Lisette Model.[1][3]

Cratsley worked for many years as a gallerist at Marlborough Gallery before quitting in 1986 to become a full-time photographer.[3]

As "Bruce Cratsley", he exhibited in various New York galleries, like: Laurence Miller Gallery, Howard Greenberg Gallery and Witkin Gallery. Cratsley was represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery, a dealer of fine art photography based in SoHo.[1]

In 1978 Cratsley contributed the photo sequences for the musical The Class, performed by The New Ballet School at the New York City Center.[4]

In 1980, Cratsley's work, Atlantic City, 1977, an August beach scene, exhibited at the 11th Anniversary show at the Witkin Gallery, sold for 175$.[5]

In 1989 Cratsley was awarded with the Guggenheim Fellowship for Photography, US & Canada.[6]

Cratsley documented his life with David Waine, who died in 1991. "I'd been photographing David since long before he became sick [...] at some point I realized that this was an extraordinary thing that was happening, and that I had an intimate relationship to it. I photographed David just a few hours before he died, not knowing what was about to happen [...] David was very spiritual [...] My pictures are a poetic, spiritualized loook at AIDS".[7]

In 1995 Cratsley was included together with Barbara Norfleet, Olivia Parker and John Sturges in the list of bestselling photographer at Robert Klein Gallery, Boston. Cratsley's B&W photos sold quickly at a starting price of 400$. Klein said of Cratsley: "Bruce transforms commonplace things through a keen sense of light and composition, and very skilled printing".[8]

Cratsley documented the Lesbian and Gay life, and in particular the New York City LGBT Pride March. Another event he documented was Wigstock, an annual outdoor drag festival that began in the 1980s in Manhattan's East Village that took place on Labor Day. Pictures from both events are now at the New York Public Library, in their permanent collection.[1]

In 1999, Cratsley was included in the volume Desire: contemporary photography from the visual AIDS archive project.[9]

In 2011 a photograph by Cratsley, Louvre Window, Paris, 1980, signed and dated, sold at 300$.[10]

On September 15, 2016, Ron Tarver, Swarthmore Instructor of Studio Art and Pulitzer Prize, gave a lecture about Cratsley, Swarthmore graduate, at LPAC (Lang Center for the Performing Arts).[3]

Works by Cratsley are also at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Harvard Art Museums.[1]

David Waine, Cratsley's lover who he often portrayed, died of AIDS related illnes in 1991. At the time of his own death, Cratsley was in a long-term relationship with William Leight.[1]

Cratsley was a good friend of Elsa Dorfman, they met through Cratsley's brother John. "We're long distance friends. The phone. No email. No fax. He's star 90 from every phone in my house and in my studio." Elsa Dorfman[22]

Cratsley died on June 30, 1998 from causes related to HIV/AIDS.[1]


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/queerplaces/images/Bruce_Cratsley