Iconic street photographer Bruce Gilden was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946.
He first went to Penn State University but he found his sociology courses too boring for his temperament and he quit college. Gilden briefly toyed with the idea of being an actor but in 1967, he decided to buy a camera and to become a photographer. Although he did attend some evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Bruce Gilden is to be considered substantially a self-taught photographer.

Right from childhood, he has always been fascinated by the life on the streets and the complicated and fascinating motion it involves, and this was the spark that inspired his first long-term personal projects, photographing in Coney Island and then during the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Over the years he has produced long and detailed photographic projects in New York, Haiti, France , Ireland, India, Russia, Japan, England and now in America.

Since the seventies Bruce Gilden’s work has been exhibited in museums and art galleries all over the world and is part of many pernmanent collections such as MOMA, New York, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Getty Museum. Bruce Gilden’s close up portraits in color were exhibited in 2016 in a group show, ‘Strange and Familiar...” at the Barbican Art Museum in London. In 2018, Gilden’s most recent project “Farm Boys and Farm Girls, USA” was presented by Leica at Photo London. From June 2018 to March 2019, Gilden’s work is part of ‘This Land”, a major group exhibition at Pier 24 in San Francisco, CA.

Gilden has received many awards and grants for his work, including National Endowments for the Arts fellowships (1980, 1984 and 1992), French “Villa Medicis Hors les Murs” grant (1995), grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts ( 1979, 1992 and 2000), a Japan Foundation Artist Fellowship (1999) and in 2013 a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.

Bruce Gilden has published 19 monographs of his work, among them: Facing New York, 1992; Bleus, 1994; Haiti, 1996 (European Publishers Award for Photography); After The Off, 1999; Go, 2000; Coney Island, 2002; A Beautiful Catastrophe, 2004; Foreclosures, 2013; A complete Examination of Middlesex, 2014. In 2015, Gilden published Face, and Hey Mister Throw Me Some Beads! His book Un Nouveau Regard Sur la Mobilité Urbaine featuring the commission he did for the French transporation system RATP was released in April 2016.

Bruce Gilden joined Magnum Photos in 1998.