There’s something about a close-up that can tell you everything. Or it can tell you nothing. It can tell half-stories. Anywhere you land on that spectrum is jarring. You can see some of the most jarring on his own website: BRUCE GILDEN
I’m most interested in the street photography. I can take photos of buildings, architecture, art, or even people as long as it’s at a distance. Even in those latter photos you can see there is one person who knows they are in the frame. Their faces are usually captured in that mute questioning: What’s this about? It’s a shadow of paranoia and insecurity. It’s easy to see that most would prefer not to be there.
What’s the solution to that if you want to take photos of people you see? Do you ask? Do you lose something if they pose? I’ve no answer to that but it’s these accidental faces that give me pause and I hesitate to snap.
It’s interesting that people instantly become self-conscious when they see someone taking a photo, or even if they see someone holding a camera. I’ve witnessed it in the work of so many street photographers, that questioning look. It’s so difficult to capture a truly candid photo. Should the shooter even try?
Questions… I don’t know. I’ve been going through Bruce Gilden’s work though and yes, I know what appears in galleries, both brick and mortar and online, that it’s curated. Specific images are presented and they probably represent only a fraction of the entire body. Still… jarring. Every last image is impactful.
Photographs are funny things anyway, little moments frozen in time and space. I’ve pondered this silently and aloud in the past. You never get two that are exactly alike, even if they are composed and posed. Every single one is unique in some way. I’d like to get more shots of people in motion, going about their day to day. I want to bridge the extraordinary and the utterly banal. That’s going to take a little more courage though. It’s going to require confronting the questioning faces and that makes me uneasy for some reason. It’s not a question of whether they’ll be angry or shout, but rather the knowledge of how uneasy some people are without a camera near them, and adding to their constant discomfort with being seen.