Guilden M. Gilbert, Jr. was born and raised in Bermuda in 1966.
His mother says he always showed a fascination for cameras. He did not take photography seriously until at the age of 14, while participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme he needed to chose a hobby, photography was a natural fit. This is where he began to not only shoot but also learned how to develop film and print images in the darkroom. It was at this point where photography became a very large part of his life. Unfortunately, professional photographers were unwilling to teach photography as many feared the student would become a competitor. Guilden learn photography on his own, one image on one roll of film at time, he took notes of each shot he captured and when receiving the film back from the lab he would analyze what he did right and what he did wrong and began to understand why things worked and why they did not, this allowed him to learned the craft of photography. His parents were very supportive, in 1981 they bought him his first 35mm SLR camera, a Canon AE-1 and on this he would shoot between 8 and 10 rolls of film a week. He had this camera and continued to produce images with until it was stolen in 1999.
Guilden relocated to Nassau, the Bahamas in 1997 with his wife of 6 years, they recently celebrated 27 years of marriage and have two children, both born in the Bahamas.
Although much of his work is landscape/seascape, he has become known as a Sports Photographer having been contracted to shoot the IAAF World Relays, CARIFTA Games, FIFA World Cup Qualifier between Bermuda and the Bahamas, FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, he also shoots swim events and went home to Bermuda specifically to capture some of the America’s Cup races. He was also recently featured in N Photo Magazine, a Nikon-centric globally distributed magazine for his Sports Photography work. Guilden has also had numerous images selected by Blank Wall, an Athens, Greece art gallery for exhibit. He recently received Honourable Mention in two large global photography contests, the International Photographers Award and the Tokyo International Foto Awards. His work has been purchased and hangs on walls globally.
Guilden is also an executive and photographer with the Bahamian Project, a project designed to capture portraits of average Bahamians with the view to establishing a National Portrait Archive.
Today Guilden has come full circle and is once again shooting and developing film, specifically Medium Format film. He says, “There is just something organic about shooting film and there is nothing quite like the feeling of pulling a developed roll of film out of the developing cannister to see the images created. Shooting film will certainly test your knowledge of proper exposure and composition because the negative does not lie about what you have produced.”
Guilden, along with another local photographer made a decision, two years ago, that they will teach photography because to have gained so much knowledge over nearly 40 years of photograph and not share that knowledge does a dis-service to the art form. The class range from Beginner’s Photography to Advanced Studio and Outdoor Lighting and are held in partnership with Queen’s College Centre for Further Education.