AUGUST 11-14, 2020 APRIL 22-25, 2021
* * 2 SEATS LEFT * *


August 14, 2020 UPDATE: due to the recent extension of the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all foreign visitors in Canada until further notice, Bruce’s workshop dates have been postponed to next Spring from Thur. April 22 through Sun. April 25, 2021. As a results a few spaces have reopened: we’re now accepting new applications (free to apply) on a first-come first-served basis!

The history of photography is best illustrated by the work of a few dozen key practitioners, whose artistic footprint left something deeply original, often polemical at first, redefine what has come to be viewed as established practice for the next generations. Standing tall among these illustrious figures is American photographer Bruce Gilden, whose uncompromising exploration of street photography for over 40 years brought the genre firmly into the modern realm of artistic photography. Indeed few photographers to this day exert such a powerful influence over the medium and its beating heart, the streets. We’re incredibly excited to collaborate with Bruce next Spring and bring him for the first time to Vancouver and Bowen Island to teach a small group of 15 emerging and mid-career photographers the ins and outs of his acclaimed practice, taking their street portraiture skills to new artistic heights!

It’s impossible to fully translate in words or books the raw life experiences that went into the making of Bruce’s extraordinary photographs, making this a truly rare opportunity to learn directly from him, and immediately transform your practice camera in hand shooting an assignment he’ll design specifically for each of the lucky participants.

With Bruce’s guidance over the course of four intensive days, each of them will get closer to becoming the best street photographer they can be, getting a more coherent and clear-eyed hold of what’s unique in their style and vision… in brief learning to ‘be themselves’ as photographers.

© Cover image: (left) Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos, USA. Kensington, Philadelphia. August, 2019. Nicole. (middle) USA. Iowa. 2017. Nathen, a farm boy. (right) USA. Columbus, Ohio. 2014. Bonnie in the Bottoms neighborhood.

© Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos, USA. New York City. 1984.

© Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos, USA. New York City. 1979.

© Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos, USA. New York City. 1989. Man, dog, cart.

© Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos, HAITI. Port-au-Prince. Soccer stadium, early evening. 1990.


Acclaimed street photographer with a unique style, Bruce Gilden was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946. He first went to Penn State University but he found his sociology courses too boring for his temperament and he quit college. Gilden briefly toyed with the idea of being an actor but in 1967, he decided to buy a camera and to become a photographer. Besides taking a few evening classes at the School of Visual Arts, Gilden is predominantly self-taught .
Right from childhood, he has always been fascinated by the life on the streets and the complicated and fascinating motion it involves, and this was the spark that inspired his first long-term personal projects, photographing in Coney Island and then during the Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Since then, Bruce Gilden has continued to focus on strong characters and to apply Robert Capa’s mantra to his own work: “if the picture isn’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”.
Over the years he has produced long and detailed photographic projects in New York, Haiti, France , Ireland, India, Russia, Japan, England and now in America. Gilden has published 21 monographs of his work. In 2019, a new edition of his first book “Facing New York ”came out and last November the book “Lost & Found” on his early New York work was published by Editions Xavier Barral in Paris.
Bruce Gilden’s work has been exhibited widely around the world and is part of many permanent collections such as MOMA, New York, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Getty Museum. In 2016, his most recent work in color was exhibited in a group show, “Strange and Familiar, Britain as revealed by international photographers” at the Barbican Art Museum in London , and most recently in 2019 in the exhibition “This Land” at Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco. Already the recipient of numerous grants and awards, Bruce Gilden became a Guggenheim Fellow in 2013. He joined Magnum Photos in 1998.


BRUCE GILDEN brings to his master class his unique style of street photography which has truly become his own over the past 40 years of working in New York City and other urban areas, both in the US and abroad. He will work with the students to teach them how to improve their pictures shot in the streets by best identifying their working “style” for street photography, and define their personal vision.
Gilden will share his own experience in the street to aid the students in gaining “street smart” sensibilities. These principles are necessary to work in any environment and to be in the middle of the scenario without being obtrusive.
In addition to his master class, Bruce Gilden will also give a lecture-presentation on his 40-year body of street work in CD form.

I want to help you MAKE photographs, not TAKE photographs!
Bruce Gilden

Shoot either 50 digital images or 2 rolls of film in an area or a situation where you are “comfortable” working in, AND 50 digital images (or 2 rolls of film) somewhere else where you are “not comfortable” working in.
Please present no more than 5 images.

In addition to the pre-class assignment, bring your best photos, ones that are indicative of your style (they do NOT have to be “street” photographs). Please do not bring more than 20 photos.
After I review their portfolios, each student will be given a personal assignment related to their strengths or weaknesses.

I review the work and then everybody goes out to shoot on their own.

From the recently-completed assignments, each participant will have produced an essay that I will help in putting together.

8:30 AM to about 1:30 PM approx.
We discuss students’ photographs and then they go out to shoot.
Last day: We are together the whole day.


Nestled in spectacular Howe Sound, North America’s southernmost fjord surrounded by towering peaks that rise straight out of the sea, Bowen Island is Vancouver’s paradisiac getaway since the 1900s. Dubbed ‘Happy Isle’ in the 1950s, this enchanted island is known to Vancouverites for its exceptional serenity, centennial natural park and laid-back country living all easily accessible a mere 15-minute ferry ride from mainland.

Today Bowen Island attracts visitors from all around the globe for its lakes, beaches, crown forest lands and beautiful hiking trails up to Mount Gardner (2350 feet) offering stunning panoramic views of Howe Sound. For all its nature, visitors also  enjoy ‘Snug Cove’ (aka Downtown Bowen), Bowen’s main hub and historical marina featuring an array of attractions from historic turn-of-the-century buildings and quaint boardwalk boutiques, to many galleries, fine groceries and most of modern life’s amenities, and ‘Artisan Square‘ (aka Uptown Bowen), home to the island’s artistic community and FotoFilmic’s workshop centre.




* Eligible Graduation Date: May 2019 & after

Following our latest August 14th update announcing the postponing of Bruce’s workshop to April 22-25 next year 2 seats have become available. Applications for these are now open (no fee to apply) until filled and will be reviewed on a first-come first-served basis. Applying early is recommended for greater chances of selection.


There is currently no fixed deadline to apply. Space remains limited to 15 participants max. Bruce’s workshop welcomes both film and digital photographers.


Selected photographers will be required to send a $400 registration deposit payment to confirm their seat and participation. Registration balances will then be due in full by Sunday, March 21st, 2021.

If needed, a customized payment plan can also be offered to split the remaining registration balance into several smaller monthly payments (at no additional cost).


103-555 Prometheus Lane
Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G2


Flights and accommodations are not included. A detailed workshop information packet including transportation directions to Bowen & on island lodging options is provided upon registration.

Complimentary coffee, tea and small snacks will be provided every morning.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, withdrawal/cancelation notices have been allowed up to 4 weeks before the workshop until Sunday, March 21, 2021 at the latest to receive a refund. Please note that with the exception of Coronavirus related withdrawals, all deposits/full registrations remain otherwise subject to a  $250 USD cancelation fee*.

Cancelation requests received after March 21, 2021 will not be accepted but fully transferable tuition credit will be allowed toward any other future workshop, seminar or retreat for 2 full years (until March 31, 2023).

* In the event the workshop was not meeting minimum enrolment or needed to be canceled for any reason (including Coronavirus developments), deposits will be refunded in full (no cancelation fee retained). Please also note FotoFilmic cannot be held responsible for any traveling expense refunds if the workshop gets canceled. Purchasing travel insurance is therefore recommended.


For any questions or inquiries, please contact FotoFilmic Co-Director Bastien Desfriches Doria directly at

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