Ralph Gibson (American, b. 1939) is a photographer known for his surreal, mysterious and erotic work. Gibson joined the navy in 1956 and studied photography at the Naval Training Center in Pensacola, Florida, before continuing his training at the San Francisco Art Institute. He worked as an assistant to Dorothea Lange, an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, from 1961 to 1962 and to Robert Frank from 1967 to 1969. Gibson published his early photographs as books, founding the the Lustrum Press in new York in 1969. Three titles, The Somnambulist (1970), Déjà-Vu (1973), and Days at Sea (1974) established his reputation. In the mid-1970s, however, Gibson shifted his focus towards exhibitions, such as Quadrants (New York, Castelli Graph., 1976), which showed photographs of details of the human figure or of architectural features, each taken at the same distance and with the same camera settings. Gibson has received several fellowships and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1985), the Leica Medal of Excellence (1988), the Grande Medaille de la Ville d’Arles (1994) and the Lucie Award for lifetime Achievement (2008). He was also appointed Commandeur de L’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres in 2005 by the French government. Gibson has produced more than 40 monographs and is collected and exhibited internationally.
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