Have to be honest and admit that up until these last few months I was never a huge fan of Bruce Gilden. I always found his method of using flash up close and personal, shooting the unsuspecting public on the street, a little too intrusive and rude. But have to admit that having tried it myself this last winter, it is harder than it looks and takes courage and a lot audacious impertinence.
When I heard about the ‘Strange & Familiar’ exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery I knew that this was an opportunity to see just what Gilden was really saying with his brusque manner.
And I was really blown away…a great day spent wandering through the rooms with images beautifully displayed, thinking to myself one visit wasn’t ever going to be enough to absorb the details, locations and characters in all the images. Then I saw them…
..displayed across one wall, these huge violently grotesque color portraits, four faces staring back at me complete with every type of blemish, pimples, spots, cuts and bruises, nostril hairs, caked makeup, toothless gums and furrowed brows. What a spectacle these faces are and what a privilege to see them, love each one, spots and all! Will be going back again and will be venturing out with my off camera flash just to see if I can ever muster up the courage to capture a stranger close enough to see the downy hair on their cheeks or the veins on a bulbous nose.
Above images were taken at the exhibition and am quite pleased with the result but also realize that if not for Gilden these would be bland everyday images of people just milling about. Would love him to come to Blackpool and see what he could capture on the streets of the best coastal town in UK.