GROUND LEVEL, HALL ADJOINING MURDOCH COURT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BORN 1946
LIVES AND WORKS IN BEACON, NEW YORK
Bruce Gilden’s project, Faces 2012–14, is an extended series of confronting and compelling photographic portraits. Photographed in extreme close-up and printed on a large scale, Gilden’s portraits show every line and blemish on his subject’s faces, drawing attention to the lack of facial symmetry and perceived imperfections that mark us all as individuals. It is a body of work that is championed by those who see the photographs as determinedly showing people as they are, but Gilden is not without critics who view the photographs as potentially exploiting his subjects. The artist describes the series as an autobiographical reflection on his childhood in Brooklyn and the result of a lifelong fascination with ‘characters’ he encounters in pursuit of his subjects. Discussing his work, Gilden says: ‘I always photographed what’s interesting to me, and it has always been people who are underdogs because I see myself as an underdog.’
Bruce Gilden initially enrolled to study sociology at Penn State University before he began taking classes in photography around 1967. Shortly after this time, he abandoned his formal studies and commenced a career in photography, which has spanned more than 50 years. He is renowned for his direct style of street photography, often working quite close to his subjects, resulting in dynamic – if sometimes uncomfortable – images of people going about their lives. Gilden has held numerous exhibitions of his photography and published eighteen monographs of his work. Since 1998 he has been a member of the Magnum Photo Agency.