Photographer Bruce Davidson, who has spent a lifetime snapping pictures of New York city life, pretty much had to tell the story behind the gripping photograph above. New York in the '80s was a different world, but undercover cops were just as busy then as they are now.

Here's what fellow photographer Adam Marelli, who was in the building for Davidson's December discussion, had to say:

The man holding the gun is actually an undercover police officer. Bruce was helping the NYPD capture muggers in the subway. He figured since he had already been mugged three times, walking around with two undercover cops might not be a bad idea. They needed a decoy and he didn’t mind the company.

To entice a would-be robber Bruce carried a map, played clueless and carried his camera on his chest (as he usually does). Within a few days someone tried to rob him, except this time the cops pounced on the guy. Bruce turned and fire the only shot. The man was arrested, Bruce got to keep his camera, and the NYPD caught one more thief.

Davidson's pretty bold for agreeing to play decoy like that, but it sure as hell made for a great shot—and an even better story.

[via Gothamist]

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