Ralph Gibson

Ralph Gibson

Fellow: Awarded 1985
Field of Study: Photography

Competition: US & Canada

School of Visual Arts

Ralph Gibson studied photography while serving in the U.S. 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.  Mr. Gibson has maintained a lifelong fascination with books and book-making.  Since the publication of

The Somnambulist in 1970, his work has been steadily impelled towards the printed page.  To date he has produced over forty monographs, his most current being State of the Axe

(Yale University Press, 2008).  His photographs are included in over one hundred and fifty museum collections around the world, and have appeared in hundreds of exhibitions.  In addition to his Guggenheim Fellowship, Mr. Gibson’s awards include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Leica Medal of Excellence, and the Silver Plumb Award from the Landmarks Preservation Committee.  He is a 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 2007 he received The Lucie Award for Fine Art Photography.  He has worked exclusively with the Leica camera for almost fifty years.

The artist states:

“I have been a photographer all my life … and have made photographs of many things and for many reasons.  But one thing that becomes more and more apparent is that I am simply only as good as my next photograph.  That’s the one that counts the most … For this reason I find it a delight to face a new day, a delight to develop that new roll of film.  It’s a great way to live.” 


Scroll to Top