Bruce Gilden’s street shooting methods polarise opinion. His “ambush tactics” (for want of a better phrase) are, for some, the exercise of any photographer’s right in public space, for others he just goes about stuff in a rude way.

Anyway, here’s a TMZ-style photo exclusive of Gilden in front of the camera and not behind it. Gilden the ambushed; not Gilden the ambusher.

Journalist Jake Warga made these photographs in April. Warga was not part of Gilden’s entourage. We can presume that Gilden, at this time, was shooting Haiti: 15 Months Later.

I was critical of Gilden in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake suggesting his images were little more than a digitised freak-show.

Warga was not surprised the Haitian, who he described as “drunk out of his mind on cheap wine” was attracted to the documentary film crew following Gilden through the graveyard with their photo accoutrements.

“He wanted his photo taken,” says Warga, “I try not to be seduced by spectacle but it was the only way he’d leave me alone. In turn, he gravitated towards Gilden’s cameras, joining the circus of gazes already in Bruce’s orbit.”

The bizarre nature of this interaction can be put down to a mixture of grief, inebriation, intrusion, Gilden’s personal theatre, and the scene acted out by the Haitian man. And all this in a cemetery.

This is probably just another day at the office for Gilden who makes a habit of hanging out with violent persons.

Confusing layers here no doubt, but for me, the take away is Gilden’s flitting averted eyes (top image). As if part of some karmic return, this Haitian man getting up in Gilden’s grill can be read as a metaphor; as a spectre, and brief embodiment, of Gilden’s many victims down the years.

The tables are turned and it looks briefly unsettling doesn’t it?

About these ads