How His Childhood and New York City Inspired Bruce Gilden

For those who wonder what inspires and pushes Bruce Gilden to keep shooting street photography, this video has some interesting answers.

Bruce Gilden remains one of the biggest names in street photography, so it’s always worth learning about his insights on the genre. Not too long ago, he sat down with another esteemed photographer, Martin Parr, and talked about some interesting stuff regarding his beginnings and “fearlessness while photographing people out in the streets.” In the video brought to us by a partnership between Magnum Photos and NOWNESS, Gilden once again talks about shooting around New York City, how his childhood was instrumental to his choice of subjects, and how the right characters are essential to a strong body of work.

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Bruce Gilden Discusses His Coney Island Street Photos

For today’s street photography inspiration, we bring more Bruce Gilden stuff from his Coney Island adventures.

Whether you’re already familiar with the bold street photography of Bruce Gilden or still familiarizing yourself with his work, it’s always engaging to look back at some of his best known sets. There’s no one that can tell us the most interesting details and stories about his photos than the photographer himself, so we take once more to Gilden’s Vimeo page to revisit his snaps, this time to listen to his commentary on his Coney Island project.

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Martin Parr Chats with Bruce Gilden in the Latest “Sofa Sessions”

Martin Parr and Bruce Gilden discuss some of the most important topics on the latter’s photography, including personal inspirations and his well-known use of flash.

Esteemed photographers like Martin Parr are often the subjects of documentary films and interviews about street photography. But in the brand new video series of the Martin Parr Foundation, he sits down with fellow photographers to talk about their work, inspirations, motivations, and other photography topics. In the latest episode, it’s the turn of fellow Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden to have an insightful “Sofa Session” with Parr. This episode is definitely a favorite of many, with two street photography and documentary photography giants exchanging thoughts and insights on the craft. If you’re curious about Gilden’s work and methods in the streets, you definitely have to sit down and pay attention to their chat!

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Bruce Gilden on “Gangster Types and Tough Guys”

Whether you like Bruce Gilden or not, listening to him speak about one of his most fascinating works is still worth your while.

It’s always fascinating to hear photography greats talk about their own work and the ideas or motivations behind them, even if it’s the controversial Bruce Gilden. Whatever you want to think of his style as a street photographer, many of his works remain exemplary in street photography and documentary photography. Among these is the black and white Gangster Types and Tough Guys series, which shows us the culture and daily life of England’s brawlers and Japan’s infamous crooks. Who else can best tell us more about this body of work but Gilden himself?

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Bruce Gilden Explains What Makes a Great Street Photograph

Screenshot taken from the video

Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden himself spent decades perfecting his signature style of filling the frame with candid close-up portraits, making him one of the revered – and often imitated – street photographers in that arena. With street photography being one of the most popular categories today, it’s one of those genres many photographers take a stab at, albeit mostly blindly. To make things extra challenging, there are really no hard and fast rules you can follow to guarantee a compelling street snap; all those guides and photo books can give you is something you can start with. What you can do, however, is diligently and persistently practice until you get your own style, voice, and storytelling technique.

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“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.

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A Defense of Bruce Gilden’s Faces

(Left: Betty, Right: Terry) © Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos

(Left: Betty, Right: Terry) © Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos

All images are copyrighted and used with permission by Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos.

There has been a great deal of ballyhoo around Bruce Gilden’s latest work, from his two-day stint in Appalachia for VICE to his upcoming book Face. The latter of the two comprises 50 portraits Gilden took over the past several years, and one of the most interesting things about this is that he got permission from every single person. Most of Gilden’s oeuvre consists of images made very close with a flash in hand, which you can see a demonstration of in several videos. Gilden’s work often yields polarized reactions with no real middle ground, and while Face stands apart from most of his work, it’s caused the same spate love-it-or-hate-it reactions.

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Bruce Gilden Talks About his Latest Street Portrait Project

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 9.56.06 AM

Photographer Bruce Gilden is a legend amongst so many photographers and especially in the Magnum Photo agency. Very recently the agency shared a new video showcasing the photographer doing what he does: walking around the the streets and photographing people with a flash in their face. While there are loads of photographers condemn his tactics, he takes photos that are quite telling of the people he shoots.

Much of what he’s shooting looks a lot like his previous work: flash in the face, black and white photos, capturing people as they go about their lives on the street.

You can watch Gilden talk about his work in the video after the jump. What do you think of him and his work? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

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Bruce Gilden Shoots for Postcards From America: A Magnum Photos Project


Famed street photographer and Magnum Photos Documentarian Bruce Gilden has stepped away from his personal work on the streets and has recently released a new project with the organization documenting the days of the US Presidential election in a temporary bureau in Miami, FL. Gilden was interviewed about it on the Leica camera blog, where he talks about how he used the S2 and Leica Monochrom to do the project. One of the most striking images is the one up above–which the Leica online team admits violates every rule in portraiture yet remains quite powerful. Gilden’s answer was, “When I saw the young man, I loved his hair and his leather jacket. But when I took his portrait, his look wasn’t strong enough for me so I asked him could you put your hands over your face.

As a former Magnum intern, this sounds all too familiar: the company created a temporary blog a couple of years ago documenting the first 30 days after President Obama was elected a while back. Unfortunately, that blog is now defunct; but I really wish that Magnum in Motion had kept it alive.

You can see the video for the project after the jump. Do note that a good quarter of the video is about the cameras; but there is still a bit of Gilden’s mentality and personality to take away from it. Also be sure to check out the work we’ve done with the S2.

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8 Quotes from Photographers to Motivate You This Weekend

We went through our Instagram and found some of the best quotes from professional photographers.

If you’re looking for extra motivation to get out there and shoot, we’ve found a great round up of quotes to help out. Many of these are from photographers who pushed themselves to not only be good enough to shoot pleasing images but also turn it into a daily living. It takes a lot of motivation to get up every morning and chase income. For more motivation, we recommend checking out our Instagram.

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6 Cameras for Street Photography That Started a Movement

There have been some excellent cameras used through the decades for street photography: let’s look at them.

In modern times, street photographers get excited about cameras like the Ricoh GR III and the Fujifilm X100V. But since the practice of street photography began, there have been some absolute gems in the hands of photographers. Many of those cameras have had their time, and moved aside to be replaced by modern, more advanced systems. But they still hold value, and there’s no doubt they were considered remarkable cameras in their day (and some are still remarkable even by today’s standards). And some cameras from the past started a movement: something people got behind and held dearly to their hearts. Let’s take a look.

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Street Photography: Remembering The Work of Elisa Tomaselli

In this piece, we remember the street photography of Elisa Tomaselli.

In early 2020, the street photography community lost one of its own. Elisa Tomaselli sadly passed away on January 23rd. I’m not sure how or why she passed, but I do know she was far too young to leave this world. I also know she was an excellent street photographer: someone who I had featured on The Phoblographer before. We never met, and only exchanged a handful of messages, so I can’t comment on the person. But I can comment on the street photographer: the fine, talented one that she was.

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Street Photography: A Short Guide to the Ethics for New Photographers

If you’re unsure about ethics in street photography, we’ve got you covered.

Street photography is a polarizing craft. Peaking into the world of others – albeit in a public space – is rejected by many. Street photographers are often mistaken for aggressive, disrespectful, voyeuristic oddballs by those who are unable to accept the practice. But alongside this mentality, are people that don’t bat an eyelid when a photographer is hard at work. They’re intrigued by the process. But love it or hate it, street photography is fair game in most developed countries, and you don’t break laws by practicing it. But even if you’re in line with the legalities, there are ethics that you need to uphold. Not to be safe from the authorities, but for the good and longevity of the genre.

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Daniel Anez Discusses His Colorful Street Photography

All street photography images by Daniel Anez. Used with permission. 

“There is value in pushing yourself creatively not just skillfully,” says Daniel Anez. He’s a street photographer who wants to think outside the box. He wants to go beyond the fundamentals and create street photography that encourages his audience to build their own narrative. Through the use of color, varied angles, and story-telling, Daniel has created an aesthetic that belongs to him. It’s his vision of the world, a world that he invites us to explore with him. Although his work suggests otherwise, Daniel is relatively new to the world of street photography. He spoke to us to share what his journey has been like so far.

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The Voyeur in Photography as it Relates to the Photographer’s Intentions

The idea of the voyeur in photography is one that is romanticized but never discussed in fuller length.

We talk about street photography, street portraiture, and intentions often on this site, but I feel that the idea of the voyeur is something we genuinely need to bring up again. I’m not one to say that voyeurs should be berated, but I think one’s intentions should be put into perspective. To get right to the meat of the problem, I want to tackle the issue of photographing children–an issue often brought up. Many photographers will say “No, that’s wrong and you’re going to get in trouble.” And they’re right–in today’s society, it’s easy to be labeled as a predator of some sort. While taking pictures of people in public is 100% within your legal rights, I believe street photographers should check their intentions in an effort to move street photography forward beyond the casual snapshot and the emulation of all those who came before us. That’s not to say there isn’t good work out there–the street photography world has some fantastic work. But there is a lot of the same and the images of many people look the same.

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The Magnum Square Print Sale is Back With “Obsessions”

The Magnum Square Print Sale is back, this time exploring the “Obsessions” of esteemed Magnum photographers.

If you’ve missed the previous legs of the much awaited Magnum Square Print Sale, we’re glad to report that it’s now back. This time, Magnum greats such as Eliott Erwitt Bruce Gilden, David Alan Harvey, Steve McCurry, Martin Parr, Philippe Halsman, Thomas Hoepker, and Alessandra Sanguinetti.

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Take a Peek Inside the Martin Parr Foundation in this Tate Short Film

Martin Parr shows us around the foundation he built in Bristol and tells us about his dedication to British documentary photography.

Martin Parr and his foundation may have their attention focused on British photographers and images shot in the British islands, but there’s no doubt that he remains an influential figure among international street photographers. In a short video by Tate from 2017, we get to take a peek inside the then newly-opened Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, with a tour from the iconic documentary photographer himself.

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André Josselin Highlights the Anonymous Faces of New York City

All photos by André Josselin. Used with Creative Commons permission.

In one of our recent features, Cologne-based André Josselin shared how New York City was his dream destination and, using his Leica M, André put together a visual love letter to the city. Well, aside from capturing all the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps, he also made sure to paint a picture of its people through some candid street portraits. New Yorkers certainly are among the favorite subjects of street photographers, and we’re definitely not complaining seeing more being added to the pile. Aptly titled Anonymous NYC, the collection of street portraits was taken using a Leica M10 with a 28mm Zeiss lens. It looks and feels like a continuation of the NYC Love Letter series, but with a more decisive focus on people. There’s also a more classic New York City street photography feel, even reminiscent of Bruce Gilden. More hustle and bustle, a close distance to subjects, but also more observant of the people he chose to photograph.

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Street Photographers Share Stories Of Confrontation (And Overcoming It)

Lead photo by Suzanne Stein. Used with permission.

Street photography and confrontation can go hand in hand. The fact is, some people just do not want a camera pointed at them. Most of the time unwilling subjects communicate their disapproval in a respectful way. However, sometimes they react in an aggressive, hilarious and just outright bizarre fashion. It’s a nightmare for many of us, and we try to find ways to get out of those situations. We spoke to a number of street photographers, asked them about the more memorable stories of confrontation and what we did to overcome it.

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How to Not Let Shyness Get in the Way of Your Street Photography

Don’t let shyness keep you from doing street photography and shooting the photos you want.

Street photography is certainly one of the more challenging genres to get into, primarily because you need to adapt a certain mindset for it. Apart from that, you also need to get over your shyness (not introversion, as is the common misconception). You don’t want to miss those precious shots showing a vibrant slice of life in your city. If you think you’re too shy for street photography, Danish photographer Frederik Trovatten believes you’re not — and no one is. He explains this thoughtfully in a quick video.

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Josh Estey Sheds Light on Life in Jakarta’s Congested Streets

All images by Josh Estey. Used with permission.

Since every city is a multi-faceted ecosystem, photographers are faced with a myriad of stories, issues, and realities to capture. In his photo essay titled No Land Left to Play, Josh Estey chose to paint a picture of how the Indonesian capital of Jakarta has become a congested, mega metropolis with hardly any open spaces for its residents.

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