Bruce Gilden

© Max Motel

Acclaimed street photographer with a unique style, Bruce Gilden was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946. After briefly studying sociology at Penn State University and toyed with the idea of being an actor, he decided in 1967 to buy a camera and to become a photographer. Besides taking a few evening classes at the School of Visual Arts, Gilden is predominantly self-taught. Even as a child, he has always been fascinated by life on the streets and its complicated and fascinating rhythms, and this was the spark that inspired his first long-term personal projects, photographing in Coney Island and then during the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Since then, Bruce Gilden has continued to focus on strong characters and to apply Robert Capa’s mantra to his own work: “if the picture isn’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” 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. Gilden has published 21 monographs of his work.

Bruce Gilden’s work has been exhibited widely around the world and is part of many permanent collections such as MoMA, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Getty Museum. In 2016, his most recent work in colour was exhibited in a group show, Strange and Familiar, Britain as revealed by international photographersat the Barbican Art Museum in London, and in 2019 in the exhibition This Landat Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco. 

Already the recipient of numerous grants and awards, Bruce Gilden became a Guggenheim Fellow in 2013. He joined Magnum Photos in 1998.


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