This Toxic Approach to Street Photography Needs to Stop Now!

There isn’t one approach to street photography. That’s what makes the genre so beautifully diverse. Naturally, when there’s so much diversity, it opens the door to differing opinions on the right and wrong approach. I do my best to keep a balanced perspective; just because it’s not right for me doesn’t mean it’s wrong. However, I believe one approach to street photography is flawed, and it’s something we need to address.

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Bruce Gilden Talks About the Powerful Influence of Street Photography

Images by Bruce Gilden. Used with permission.

“I think it’s fine if that’s who they are and as long as they’re comfortable working that way,” says Bruce Gilden when asked how he feels about photographers adopting his style. He continues, “For me, working in that style is natural.” Gilden is a leading mainstay in the street photography community. His work has polarized and revolutionized the candid frame. And as Magnum kicks off its annual Square Print Sale, we thought it was the perfect time to catch up with one of street photography’s most influential players.

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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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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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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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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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Cam Crosland’s Fishing With Dynamite Shows An Empathetic Approach To Flash Street Photography

All images by Cam Crosland. Used with permission.

Cam Crosland is a street photographer based in London. Their work has been described as both poetic and powerful — a description we are in complete agreement with. Through their series Fishing With Dynamite, Cam adopts a gentler, more empathetic approach to flash street photography.

While their identity does not define the caliber of their work, Cam’s path to identifying as non-binary has certainly played its role in the way their work is produced. Equally, street photography has played a role in helping Cam on their path of self-exploration.

We spoke to Cam to talk about their amazing work and life as a non-binary street photographer.

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Review: Magnum – The Art of Street Photography (Online Course)

The highly anticipated first online course from Magnum – The Art of Street Photography – has arrived.  

Magnum, arguably the worlds’ number one photography collective, has put on workshops all around the globe. Over the years, their A-list photographers have taught their skills to new and experienced students.

Now, for the first time, Magnum have delved into the world of online teaching –  focusing first on street photography. The course has almost 3 hours of content which is split into 10 lessons. Inside you’ll see appearances from the likes of Bruce Gilden, Martin Parr and Susan Meiselas – as well as a host of other industry-leading experts.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights…

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How to Think in Black and White When Shooting Street Photography

In a world rich in colour and vibrancy, it’s time to think a little more black and white.

The modern world is spoiled for choice when it comes to cameras, gadgets, and editing tools that bring out the beautiful colours in your photographs. I just got the Fuji XT2 and I’m learning all about those famously addictive ‘Fuji Colours’. But even in modern times, there is still a demand for that classic black and white look.

If you’re thinking of taking the colour out of your work, here are some tips on how to think in black and white when shooting street photography.

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Michelle Groskopf’s Street Photographs Use Flash to Tell a Story

All images by Michelle Groskopf. Used with permission,

Photographer Michelle Groskonpf is a fine art street photographer who shoots in a style and subject matter you don’t really see anywhere else. The LA based artist says she used to be a “creeper” but these days finds happiness in the small moments of intimacy. That’s very evident by her Instagram and she’s now on a mission to make her photos into a book. Michelle’s book is called Sentimental, and she likes to bill it as more of a monograph than a coffee table book. Michelle got her start in photography during some troubling times in her teenage years. And like many others, she found a way to creatively express herself through fine art photography. Her style combines street portraiture with bright flash that brings us all the details of a person’s face. Michelle believes that everyone, in their own way, is both important and urgent.

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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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50 Inspirational Quotes About Photography

day 40: decisions, decisions

The photographers behind some of the greatest images also had some wise words about the craft. We thought we’d put together 50 of our favorite quotes that move us, and in turn, we hope they move you. Reading what they have to say can prove particularly useful when you’re in a creative slump. Read on for some food for thought.

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

Bruce-Gilden-Homestead-Air-Show-Florida

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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