"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

Bruce Gilden was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1946. Over a career spanning more than 50 years, he has honed his immediately recognizable street-photography style: up-close, flash-lit, emotionally engaged, and real photographs of real people.

Gilden first went to Penn State University, but found his sociology courses too boring for his temperament and quit college. He briefly toyed with the idea of being an actor, but in 1967 he decided to buy a camera and to become a photographer. Besides taking a few evening classes at the New York School of Visual Arts, Gilden is predominantly self-taught. Right from childhood, he has been fascinated by life on the streets, and this was the spark that inspired his first long-term personal projects, photographing in Coney Island and then during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Since then, 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.”

Gilden joined Magnum Photos in 1998 and became a full member in 2002. Over the years, he has produced long and detailed photographic projects in New York, Haiti, France, Ireland, India, Russia, Japan, England, and more recently America. He has published 23 monographs of his work, among them Cherry Blossom (2021), Black Country (2022) and The Circuit (also 2022).

His work has been exhibited widely around the world and is part of many permanent collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, and J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. His new color work was exhibited in the Strange and Familiar group exhibition in London in 2016 and in San Francisco in 2019. Already the recipient of numerous grants and awards, Gilden became a Guggenheim Fellow in 2013.

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

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