Bruce Gilden is renowned for getting up-close-and-personal with an eclectic range of subjects, capturing candid shots of people as they go about their lives. It makes sense, then, that the American Magnum photographer hit it off immediately with Alessandro Michele, given the Gucci designer’s runways and editorials are about as eclectic as they come.
With Michele first enlisting Gilden to shoot the front row of Gucci’s AW20 menswear show back in January, with the likes of Tyler, The Creator, Anderson .Paak, Richard Hell, and Earl Cave among those captured, the two now join forces on a new project. This time around, it takes the form of a limited edition coffee table tome full of bold black-and-white images and larger-than-life characters (all dressed in Gucci’s Pre-Fall 2020 collection, obvs).
“Bruce is a beautiful person with a poetic gaze on humanity,” says Michele of his collaborator. “We share the same passion for faces and an obsession with expressions, personalities, and looks. Working with a photographer means seeing through someone else’s eyes and it was wonderful to see through Bruce’s. I felt like I was looking at things under a microscope in a science laboratory.”
Shot on the streets of Rome pre-pandemic, Beaten & Blown By The Wind sees shoppers running errands star alongside the likes of Italian model Bernadetta Barzini and fashion editor and activist Bethann Hardison. In one particularly striking, flash-lit photo, a woman carrying a tiny dog under her arm stares into Gilden’s lens, slightly dazed and seemingly not quite sure what to make of what’s going on (we mean, mood?).
“It was the end of two long days I spent shooting on the street for Gucci, and I was tired, heading back to the hotel,” the photographer explains of the shot. “The December light was fading, the street was filled with shoppers, and I saw this beautiful young woman carrying her dog. I quickly snapped a picture and her boyfriend was very curious as to why I photographed her. We got into a nice conversation, before parting ways feeling very festive – it was just a few weeks before Christmas.”
Gilden also speaks of how much Rome inspired him whilst working on this project. “The city and its people got to me in a good way; I’d like to go back and shoot them more thoroughly. I could even imagine living there.” Looking at the images, with the city’s famed architecture and characters milling around in the background, it’s not hard to understand why.
The book is available to buy at the Gucci Garden in Florence, the Gucci Wooster Bookstore in NY, and IDEA books online.
Check the book out in the gallery above and revisit Bruce Gilden’s photos from the AW20 Gucci menswear show below.