“I Am Photographing Myself” – Bruce Gilden

Screenshot taken from video. 

Bruce Gilden is renowned for his direct, confrontational, and to a certain level, controversial approach in street photography, which is a stark contrast to the traditional observe and shoot discretely methodology. This has spawned endless debates and discussions on how street photography should be defined. Nevertheless, having won multiple prestigious awards and being a Magnum photographer himself, Bruce Gilden has years and years of experience and knowledge in photojournalism and documentary work. He spoke with Time in their weekly “First Take” series, revealing the true reason why he was compelled to do photography.

In the short interview video, Bruce Gilden started by questioning what made a handful of great photographs stand out from the large collection, and he found a need to explore a much deeper reason behind this. Bruce immediately revealed that reason being him putting himself in his pictures and that his pictures represented who he was as a person. “I am photographing myself in my pictures, that’s me,” confessed by Bruce. He further emphasized the importance of inserting a part of him into his photography work.

Moving forward this begs us to question ourselves, are we photographing who we are in our pictures? Do our photographs speak volumes of our own unique characteristics and tell stories of our personalities, do they reflect our identities and our purpose in this world? The take-away message is, if you want to step up your photography game and push it to another level, it is crucial to embrace photography and make it an inseparable part of yourself, and show who you are in your photography work. After all, like all art, photography is a powerful medium to express yourself in whatever way you choose.

You may find the interview video Time did with Bruce Gilden here.