Ralph Gibson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ralph Gibson
Ralph Gibson August 2015.JPG
Born (1939-01-16) January 16, 1939 (age 82)
Known forPhotography
Spouse(s)Mary Jane Marcasiano
AwardsGuggenheim Fellowship

Ralph Gibson (born January 16, 1939) is an American art photographer[1] best known for his photographic books. His images often incorporate fragments with erotic and mysterious undertones, building narrative meaning through contextualization and surreal juxtaposition.

Early life and education[edit]

Gibson enlisted in the United States Navy in 1956 and became a Photographers Mate studying photography until 1960. Gibson then continued his photography studies at the San Francisco Art Institute between 1960 - 1962. He began his professional career as an assistant to Dorothea Lange from 1961 to 1962 and went on to work with Robert Frank on two films between 1967 and 1968.[2]


Gibson has maintained a lifelong fascination with books and book-making. Since the appearance in 1970 of The Somnambulist, his work has been steadily impelled towards the printed page. In 1969 Gibson moved to New York, where he formed Lustrum Press in order to exert control over the reproduction of his work.[3] Lustrum Press also published Larry Clark's Tulsa (1971).[4] To date he has produced over 40 monographs, current projects being State of the Axe published by Yale University Press in Fall of 2008 and Nude by Taschen (2009). His photographs are included in over one hundred and fifty museum collections around the world, and have appeared in hundreds of exhibitions. He has worked exclusively with the Leica for almost 50 years.

Asked by The New York Times for his main sources of inspiration, Gibson recommended what he considered to be five seminal works: Eugene Atget's Vision of Paris, Walker Evans's American Photographs, Henri Cartier-Bresson's Decisive Moment, Robert Frank's The Americans and Alexey Brodovitch's Ballet.[5]

Commissioned by Italian luxury label Bottega Veneta, Gibson photographed models Raquel Zimmermann and Mathias Lauridsen on locations in Milan for the brand's fall/winter 2013 advertisements.[6]

Gibson's Hand Through a Doorway was used on the inner sleeve of the 1979 album Unknown Pleasures by UK rock band Joy Division.

In the summer 2016, on the occasion of the opening of the Galerie Thierry Bigaignon, Gibson presented an all-new series of photographs entitled "Vertical Horizon", in a colour departure from the black-and-white images for which he is celebrated.

Publications by Gibson[edit]

  • The somnambulist : photographs 1970 ISBN 978 0912810102 Part 1 of a trilogy
  • Deja-Vu: Second in the Black Trilogy 1973 ISBN 978 0912810065. Part 2 of a trilogy
  • Days at Sea ISBN 978 0912810157. 1974 Part 3 of a trilogy
  • Syntax ISBN 978 0912810393. 1983
  • Tropism 1987. ISBN 978 0893812553
  • L'Anonyme 1987. ISBN 978 0893812492
  • L'Histoire de France 1991 ISBN 978 0893814717. Introduction by Marguerite Duras
  • Light strings : impressions of the guitar 2004 ISBN 978 0811843249. With Andy Summers
  • State of the Axe: Guitar Masters in Photographs and Words 2008 ISBN 978 0300142112 Foreword by Anne Wilkes Tucker; Preface by Les Paul
  • Political Abstraction: 2015 Lustrum Press, ISBN 978 1477309940
  • The Black Trilogy: 2017 University of Texas Press, ISBN 978 1477316269
  • Self-Exposure: 2018 HENI, London, UK


Gibson's work is held in the following public collections:



Personal life[edit]

Gibson currently lives in New York with his wife, fashion designer Mary Jane Marcasiano and travels frequently to Europe and Brazil.[21]


  1. ^ "Photographers on Seeing: Ralph Gibson". Popular Photography. April 1981. p. 86.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Ralph Gibson". Artnet Worldwide Corporation. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  3. ^ Ralph Gibson Etherton Gallery, Tucson, Arizona.
  4. ^ Andy Grundberg (April 10, 1983), Photography View; Why Some Art Retains Its Emotional Impact The New York Times.
  5. ^ John Durniak (July 21, 1985), Photography Books That Instruct And Inspire The New York Times.
  6. ^ Kerry Pieri (July 22, 2013), Exclusive: Watch Bottega Veneta's Ralph Gibson Lensed Fall Campaign Film Archived 2013-10-09 at the Wayback Machine Harper's Bazaar.
  7. ^ "Tropism: Photographs by Ralph Gibson". International Center of Photography. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Ralph Gibson". The J. Paul Getty Museum. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Ralph Gibson". Kemper Art Museum. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Ralph Gibson". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Ralph Gibson". Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Ralph Gibson". Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  13. ^ "From the Library: Photobooks After Frank". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Ralph Gibson". Stedelijk Museum. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  15. ^ "History of the Collection". Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Ralph Gibson". Whitney Museum of American Art. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Ralph Gibson". International Photography Hall of Fame. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Ralph Gibson, la Légion d'honneur pour le plus Français des Américains". Les Nautes de Paris. 2018-06-11. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  19. ^ Trauring, Michelle (2015-03-10). "Guild Hall Honors Broderick, Feiffer, Gibson And Macklowes At Academy Dinner". 27east.com. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  20. ^ "ralph gibson". Lucie Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
  21. ^ Buck, Joan Juliet (December 10, 2010). "Full House". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-11.

External links[edit]