Bruce Gilden goes in search of the darker side of Japan capturing a world of Yakuza, street racers and the homeless
"I'm known for taking pictures very close, and the older I get, the closer I get"
- Bruce Gilden
An Iconic street photographer with a unique style, Bruce Gilden was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946. He first went to Penn State University but he found his sociology courses too boring for his temperament and he quit college. Gilden briefly toyed with the idea of being an actor but in 1967, he decided to buy a camera and to become a photographer. Although he did attend some evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Bruce Gilden is to be considered substantially a self-taught photographer.
Right from childhood, he has always been fascinated by the life on the streets and the complicated and fascinating motion it involves, 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.
Over the years he has produced long and detailed photographic projects in New York, Haiti, France , Ireland, India, Russia, Japan and now in America.
Since the seventies, his work has been exhibited in museum 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 15 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 will be released in April 2016.
Bruce Gilden joined Magnum Photos in 1998. He lives in Beacon, New York.