Bruce Gilden's childhood in Brooklyn endowed him with a keen eye for observing urban behaviors and customs. He studied sociology, but his interest in photography grew when he saw Michelangelo Antonioni's film "Blow-Up", after which he began taking night classes in photography at the New York School of Visual Arts. Gilden's curiosity about strong characters and individual peculiarities has been present from the beginning of his career. His first major project, which he worked on until 1986, focused on Coney Island, and on the intimacy of the sensual, fat or skinny bodies sprawled across the legendary New York beach. During these early years Gilden also photographed in New Orleans during its famous Mardi Gras festival. Then, in 1984, he began to work in Haiti, following his fascination with voodoo places, rites and beliefs there; his book "Haiti" was published in 1996. Since joining Magnum he has based himself in New York whilst travelling the world on photographic assignments.