Ralph Gibson (American, b. 1939)

Gibson is a celebrated photographer known for his explorations of the surreal nature of the subconscious mind. Gibson’s interest in photography stems from his upbringing around the camera, as his father was an assistant director for filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. After enlisting in the US Navy at 16, Gibson’s first formal training was in the Navy’s photography program. Afterwards, he studied at the San Francisco Art Institute before becoming an assistant for famous photographers Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank. Gibson also championed photography books and published his first, The Somnambulist (1970), which became an example of the form. He has continued to be involved in presses and book making.

Gibson has given lectures regarding his work and the process of photography in over twenty countries and has received a number of distinctions including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Leica Medal of Excellence. He was appointed Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France and Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the president of France.