Printed in 2005.
Ralph Gibson (American, b.1939) is a respected photographer known for his contrasting imagery and erotic subject matter. Gibson was born in Los Angeles, CA, and studied photography while in the United States Navy. He later attended the San Francisco Art Institute and worked as an assistant to Robert Frank (Swiss, b.1924) and Dorothea Lange (American, 1895–1965). Gibson has worked primarily with a Leica camera since the beginning of his career. His photographs often feature nude models in surreal poses. Infanta is a typical representation of his work. The piece features a woman with a prominent tattoo against a dark background.
Gibson was enamored with the idea of making books, and, in 1970, Somnambulist was published. The book features black-and-white photographs of nude figures, stormy skies, and haunting images of a house. Gibson describes his style as spontaneous. In a recent interview he stated: "I've attempted to take pictures of simple things, you know, like a cardboard box, or a chair, or a spoon. Very humble objects. I'm not terribly drawn towards the epic event." Gibson has completed over 40 books. Many were self-published under his company, Lustrum Press. Gibson started the publishing house in 1970 to bring his work to a larger audience. His most recent book, State of the Axe, features images of 60 popular guitarists playing their instruments.
Gibson is a highly acclaimed artist who has won many awards. He received three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1973, 1975, and 1986. In addition, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985. The photographer also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Leica Medal of Excellence, and the Silver Plumb Award. He is a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, which is an honor only bestowed on those who have made significant contributions to the arts. Gibson holds honorary doctorates from the University of Maryland and Ohio Wesleyan University, and, in 2007, he earned The Lucie Award for Fine Art Photography. His work has been displayed by more than 150 venues around the world. Gibson continues to live and work in New York.
Printed in 2005.