Bruce Gilden – Weird or Weirdly Wonderful? – Assignment 1

Bruce Gilden is a fearless street photographer who roams the streets of New York City, and more recently, Derby, to capture the true essence of the street. He believes that a photograph that doesn’t make you smell the street, isn’t a street photograph and is very critical of street photography that isn’t his own. The fearless nature of his process is inspirational and also rather ‘creepy’, as some have pointed out. He invades peoples personal space to capture straight images of people looking venerable and scared.

The controversy was highlighted by fellow street photographer Eric Kim, but he challenges those who disagree with his process, because Gilden himself labels these people as his friends and after talking to him in person, Gilden made it very clear that he ‘wasn’t there to scare people’. I feel that by getting so close to people and causing this reaction, it provides the formula for the best street photography. It is difficult to create these images though, firstly because Gliden has already taken these images, and secondly people wouldn’t appreciate you invading their personal space. By choosing these characters, Gliden has experience in picking the right people who won’t cause him further trouble, and you can see the appearance of older people in his work.

I was inspired by Gilden’s technique, but I find it difficult to make a response to his work without seeming like a copy, very much like Renaldi’s ‘touching strangers’. But the controversy of the images, and the scared faces could be something I explore in my project more to provoke more of an artistic response, and choose individuals like Gilden did.

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