Bruce Gilden • Photographer Profiles • Magnum Photos

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"I'm known for taking pictures very close, and the older I get, the closer I get"

- Bruce Gilden

b. 1946


Based in New York, USA


Available for commissions
& assignments

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.

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Selected works


Go: standing out from the crowd

Bruce Gilden

Bruce Gilden goes in search of the darker side of Japan capturing a world of Yakuza, street racers and the homeless

Open story

From the Magnum Shop

Most Recent

Upcoming Exhibition
Miami, United States

Miami Photo Fest Presents: Only God Can Judge Me

Bruce Gilden
Feb 27 - Mar 3

Upcoming Exhibition
Miami, United States

Miami Photo Fest Presents: Farm Boys and Farm Girls USA

Bruce Gilden
Feb 27 - Mar 3

Theory & Practice

Behind the Image: Bruce Gilden’s Subway Santa

Bruce Gilden

Upcoming Workshop
Miami, USA

Be Yourself: Workshop with Bruce Gilden in Miami

Bruce Gilden
Feb 22 - 26


Bruce Gilden

Past Exhibition

Magnum Photos at Paris Photo 2018

Magnum Photographers
Until Nov 11, 2018

Arts & Culture

Bruce Gilden’s Forgotten Portrait of Syracuse, New York

Bruce Gilden

Arts & Culture

Bruce Gilden’s Coney Island

Bruce Gilden

Theme | 9 Stories

Life by the Sea

Past Artist Talk
London, United Kingdom

Magnum Photos Now: Bruce Gilden Up Close

Bruce Gilden
Jul 10 2018

Past Workshop
London ,

‘Be Yourself’ with Bruce Gilden

Bruce Gilden
Jul 10 - 13


Field Day: Bruce Gilden’s Farm Boys and Farm Girls

Bruce Gilden

Past Exhibition
Orléans, France

New Orleans in Orléans

Magnum Photographers
Until Sep 16, 2018

Past Workshop
Milan, Italy

Bruce Gilden’s Street Photography Masterclass in Milan

Bruce Gilden
Apr 30 - May 4

Theme | 17 Stories

Behind the Image

Arts & Culture

Only God Can Judge Me

Bruce Gilden