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    NEWS

    Catharsis.

    Gilden’s photograph comes from a rough childhood

    Bruce Gilden portraits of drug-addicted sex workers are a heavy sight to bear. His series is accused of taking a dehumanizing gaze, where the subjects are rendered as ‘freaks’. It is not hard to understand this criticism, as Gilden seems to taken a intentional approach to representing the ugliness of humanity. Subjects are photographed with an unapologetic flash exposing every freckle, every sunburn and every wound. But to dismiss his work as coming from a place of condescension or mockery is to misunderstand his own struggle with his drug addicted mother. “In the faces of these women, I find echoes of my own mother’s story,” Gilden says. Gilden has a rough childhood living with an abusive father and a mother addicted to prescription drugs which eventually led her to suicide. Thus, photography for Gilden is a way to process his own trauma’s. “I don’t do this to exploit people,” he says. “It’s who I am. I’ve seen it in my own home to some degree. What I photograph is what I lived.”