Ralph Gibson was born in Hollywood, California in 1939. His father was assistant director to Alfred Hitchcock and, as a young boy, he would visit the set during filming. He studied photography while in the US Navy and then at the San Francisco Art Institute. He began his professional career as an assistant to Dorothea Lange and went on to work with Robert Frank on two films. 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. To date his work has been published in over 40 monographs. His photographs are included in over 180 museum collections around the world, and have appeared in hundreds of solo exhibitions.
Gibson’s awards include fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Leica Medal of Excellence, the Lucie Lifetime Award and the Silver Plumb Award. He is an Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Maryland and Ohio Wesleyan University. In June of 2018 he was decorated Chevalier of the Legion of Honour of France.
In 2010 he collaborated with Lou Reed on the film “Red Shirley”, which was screened at 14 film festivals throughout Europe and North America. In 2013 he endorsed a limited edition of the Leica M Monochrom, which bears his signature on the top plate. He has maintained a relationship to the guitar since his earliest teens. Recently Gibson has incorporated his photographs and musical compositions into film and live performances.
Portrait: © Luiz Marinho