Bruce Gilden (born 1946) is an American street photographer. He is best known for his candid close-up photographs of people on the streets of New York City, using a flashgun. He has had various books of his work published, has received the European Publishers Award for Photography, and is a Guggenheim Fellow. Gilden has been a member of Magnum Photos
since 1998. He lives in Beacon, New York.
Gilden was born in Brooklyn, New York. While studying sociology at Penn State, he saw Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blowup in 1968. Influenced by the film, he purchased his first camera and began taking night classes in photography at the School of Visual Arts of New York
. Fascinated with people on the street and the idea of visual spontaneity, Gilden turned to a career in photography. His work is characterized by his use of flash photography. He has worked in black and white most of his life, but he began shooting in color and digital when he was introduced to the Leica S camera as part of Magnum's Postcards From America project.
His first major project was of people at Coney Island. He has photographed people on the streets of New York, Japan's yakuza mobsters, homeless people, prostitutes, and members of bike gangs between 1995 and 2000. According to Gilden, he was fascinated by the duality and double lives of the individuals he photographed. He has also photographed rural Ireland and horseracing there, as well as voodoo rituals in Haiti.
Gilden is the subject of the documentary film Misery Loves Company: The Life and Death of Bruce Gilden
Over the years he has produced long and detailed photographic projects in New York, Haiti, France, Ireland, India, Russia, Japan, England, and now in America.
Since the seventies, his work has been exhibited in museums and art galleries all over the world and is part of many collections.
The photographic style of Bruce Gilden is defined by the dynamic accent of his pictures, his special graphic qualities, and his original and direct manner of shooting the faces of passers-by with a flash. Gilden’s powerful images in black and white and now in color have brought the Magnum photographer worldwide fame.
Gilden has received many awards and grants for his work, including National Endowments for the Arts fellowships (1980, 1984, and 1992), French “Villa Medicis Hors les Murs”
grant (1995), grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts (1979, 1992 and 2000), a Japan Foundation Artist Fellowship (1999) and in 2013 a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.
Bruce Gilden has published 18 monographs of his work, among them: Facing New York
, 1992; Bleus
, 1994; Haiti
, 1996 (European Publishers Award for Photography); After The Off
, 1999; Go
, 2000; Coney Island
, 2002; A Beautiful Catastrophe
, 2004; Foreclosures
, 2013; A complete Examination of Middlesex
, 2014. In 2015, Gilden published Face
, and Hey Mister Throw Me Some Beads!
His new book Un Nouveau Regard Sur la Mobilité Urbaine
featuring the commission he did for the French transporation system RATP was released in April 2016.
Bruce Gilden is one of the most iconic street photographers of our time. Known for his graphic and often confrontational close-ups made using flash, his images have a degree of intimacy and directness that have become a signature in his work. Though he cut his teeth on the sidewalks of New York City where he grew up, he has since made significant bodies of work in Haiti, Japan, Moscow, France, Ireland and India. “I’m known for taking pictures very close,” says Gilden of his practice. “And the older I get, the closer I get.”
Gilden was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946. He studied sociology at Penn State University but didn’t complete the course. Although he briefly flirted with the idea of being an actor, Gilden decided to become a photographer in 1967, when he bought his first camera. He attended evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York, but largely considers himself to be self-taught.
Source: Magnum Photos