A tender but unconventional portrait of Rome, Gucci and Gilden’s art book Beaten & Blown by the Wind captures a varied cast of models in Alessandro Michele’s Pre-Fall 2020 collection
Last year, Gucci released a brilliantly unorthodox Pre-Fall 2020 lookbook that saw legendary street photographer Bruce Gilden capture Alessandro Michele’s designs on a cast of models old and young, posing along the river banks and road sides of Rome. Now, previously unseen photographs from the shoot appear in a new art book entitled Beaten & Blown by the Wind, distributed by IDEA. The title marks Michele’s latest collaboration with film and photography figureheads, having previously joined forces with the likes of Martin Parr, Yorgos Lanthimos and Harmony Korine.
One of the most prolific street photographers of his generation, Gilden is best known for his stark, honest and frequently witty portrayals of city life dating back to the 1960s, when he began his career on the streets of New York. There Gilden captured everyday life and society’s outsiders with a confrontational yet empathetic eye, creating some of his most significant work before turning his lens on life in countries around the world, including France, Haiti, India, Ireland, Japan and Russia. His uncompromising style is brought also to Beaten & Blown by the Wind, which documents the book’s Gucci-adorned subjects intimately close up in dramatic, high contrast black and white. “I’m known for taking pictures very close,” Gilden once said of his practice. “And the older I get, the closer I get.”
Like Gilden’s street images, the book captures the spirit of Rome through atypical portraits of its inhabitants. Alongside real citizens of Rome, the book stars Italian musician Achille Lauro, Italian actress and model Benedetta Barzini, and American model and advocate Bethann Hardison. “Rome and its people got to me in a good way; I would like to go back and shoot them more thoroughly,” says Gilden in a statement. “I could even imagine living there ... the city really inspires me – the beauty of the architecture and its age and watching how the Roman people move around their unique surroundings.” Adding, “the end result is a truly creative collaboration with Alessandro Michele”.
“Bruce is a beautiful person with a poetic gaze on humanity,” says Michele. “We share the same passion for faces and an obsession with expressions, personalities and looks. I am a great collector of portraits because the human figure is central to me. Working with a photographer means seeing through someone else’s eyes and it was wonderful to see through Bruce’s eyes. I felt like I was looking at things under a microscope in a science laboratory.”
Beaten & Blown by the Wind by Gucci and Bruce Gilden is available at IDEA and the Gucci Garden in Florence and Gucci Wooster Bookstore in New York.