2016-0321 Bruce Guiden – Take it or leave it

Bruce spoke at the 2016 Photography Show in the NEC in the UK and was awesome!

“Best known for his candid close-up photographs of people on the streets of New York, Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden will reveal elements of his uncompromising 50 year career as a street portrait photographer. His career has been controversial but he has maintained one clear style throughout; he shoots with Passion and Soul. Discover his curiosity about strong characters, his energetic style and very close approach to his subjects.”

The presentation was a ‘no holds barred’ gritty presentation of a cross section of his work which at times was challenging, especially on the huge screens, as he told the stories of the people behind the powerful pictures of criminal and disadvantaged people across the world; images that reinforced Kappa’s maxim “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough” Guilden has the courage to not just get close to the people but the often dangerous places they live. In fact he says “I’m known for taking pictures very close, and the older I get, the closer I get.”

I encourage you to look at his work and I challenge you to not be moved by it. Powerful images.

© Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos

“Defined by his energetic style of photography and his close approach to his subjects, Bruce Gilden’s powerful candid portraits have brought the Magnum photographer worldwide fame. Master of street photography, he has been working for five decades on the streets of the major capitals in the world.

Bruce Gilden has published fifteen monographs, among them “Facing New York”, ‘Coney Island” and “Go”. His two most recent books, “Face” (Dewi Lewis publishing) and “Hey Mister Throw me Some Beads !” (Kehrer Verlag Publishing) were released in 2015. Gilden’s work has been exhibited widely around the world and is part of numerous permanent collections such as MOMA, New York, Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

He has received nine grants and in 2013 he became a recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.”



“Bruce Gilden’s childhood in Brooklyn endowed him with a keen eye for observing urban behaviours and customs. He studied sociology, but his interest in photography grew when he saw Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow-Up, after which he began taking night classes in photography at the New York School of Visual Arts.”

“Gilden’s curiosity about strong characters and individual peculiarities has been present from the beginning of his career. His first major project, which he worked on until 1986, focused on Coney Island, and on the intimacy of the sensual, fat or skinny bodies sprawled across the legendary New York beach. During these early years Gilden also photographed in New Orleans during its famous Mardi Gras festival. Then, in 1984, he began to work in Haiti, following his fascination with voodoo places, rites and beliefs there; his book Haiti was published in 1996.”

“In June 1998 Gilden joined Magnum. He returned to his roots and tackled a new approach to urban spaces, specifically the streets of New York City, where he had been working since 1981. His work culminated in the publication of Facing New York (1992), and later A Beautiful Catastrophe (2005); getting ever closer to his subject, he established an expressive and theatrical style that presented the world as a vast comedy of manners.”

“His project After the Off, with text by the Irish writer Dermot Healey, explored rural Ireland and its craze for horseracing. Gilden’s next book, Go, was a penetrating look at Japan’s dark side. Images of the homeless and of Japan’s mafia gangs easily bypassed the conventional visual clichés of Japanese culture.”

“Gilden, who has travelled and exhibited widely around the world, has received numerous awards, including the European Award for Photography, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Japan Foundation fellowship. He lives in New York City.”

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