Author(s): Bruce Gilden
'Hey Mister, throw me some beads!' is a phrase that is iconic in New Orleans' Mardi Gras street lingo. Strings of beads, doubloons, and other trinkets are passed out or thrown from the floats in the Mardi Gras parades to spectators lining the streets. Between 1974 and 1982, New Yorker Bruce Gilden became a regular of the Mardi Gras scene. The energy, alongside the social and cultural mores of Mardi Gras were all new for him, allowing him to capture the raw intensity of the crowds with an unaffected eye.
Bruce Gilden was born in 1946 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After taking photography classes at the School of Visual Arts, he embarked on his first major project: recording tourists and pleasure-seekers visiting Coney Island. Gilden is probably best known for his work on the streets of New York, focusing on the city's characters and outsiders, but he has also spent many years on projects devoted on projects in Haiti, Japan, and Ireland. A member of Magnum Photos since 1998, Gilden has taken the genre of street photography and pushed it in new directions, documenting the essence of the people he sees and the social landscape through which they move.His photographs have been widely exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world and are included in many permanent collections, including MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia; the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; La Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris; the Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England; and the National Gallery of Canada. Sophie Darmaillacq is a journalist and writer based in New York. She is married to Bruce Gilden.