What I love most about Gilden is that he is faithful to who he is as a human being in terms of his photography. He doesn’t bullshit around and pretend to be someone he isn’t. Rather, he photographs as he puts it… “who I am.”
I think a lot of street photographers starting off often try to imitate the work of other more famous street photographers, without truly understanding their personalities.
For example, everyone tries to imitate the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. HCB was a shy, introverted man who didn’t like to have his own face photographed. The way in which he shot was reflective of his personality. Gilden is quite possibly the polar opposite of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Gilden is extremely personable and social. He shoots a lot of his work candid, but he also spends a lot of effort interacting and communicating with his subjects.
In a video of him shooting in the UK, there is a woman who gets visibly upset for him photographing her. He then explains why he photographed her and why he found her beautiful in her unique way– and then turned the streets into her own personal walkway. It was quite possibly one of the most charming things I’ve ever seen a photographer do.
He has a strong and aggressive personality, and shoots at an extremely close range with a 28mm and a flash. He doesn’t do it simply to scare people, but he uses it in an artistic way, angling his flash to highlight the human drama and theatre. He does this to highlight the anxiety of his subjects in the city in which he is photographing in.