Bruce Gilden’s ruthlessly unforgiving portraits are mesmerising 

Date
10 December 2015
Reading Time
1 minute read

We’ve featured Bruce Gilden’s stark portraits before and his latest book Face, features some of the most unforgiving and extreme images we’ve seen from the photographer. Taken from 2012 to 2014 during Bruce’s travels in America, United Kingdom and Colombia, each face fills the image in unabashed, unflinching defiance.  

While Bruce has gained permission from each of his subjects, as a viewer there’s an uncomfortable feeling when looking through the images. Catalogued like a modern day freak show, the portraits are flaunted in front of us, making it easy to gawp at the scrapes, the veined skin and crooked teeth. But when reality sets in and his subjects become human again, it feels intrusive and almost cruel. Bruce’s images are powerful not just because of the initial visual smack, but also his ability to make the viewer confront each person and their story with every turn of the page. 

Above
Left

Bruce Gilden: Face

Above
Left

Bruce Gilden: Face

Above
Left

Bruce Gilden: Face

Above
Left

Bruce Gilden: Face

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About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.

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