Ralph Gibson – Master Fine Art Photographer

Amazing viewpoint in black and white photography for decades, this master has never stopped learning, exploring, growing in his life and work.

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

Obliged to choose his most iconic photograph, Gibson admits, “It would probably be the portrait I took of a priest.” At first glance, it’s a simple, cropped black-and-white portrait, but the photograph’s subject extends far beyond the frame. Gibson talks about the portrait this way, “It’s rigid, it’s geometrical. It has all my diagonals. It has my compositional structure.” For the viewer, there’s a narrative of transformation being communicated, a story that’s interpreted and translated by the photographer. Color has been turned black-and-white, three-dimensional space has been flattened, and lines have been extended and compressed. “I was aware of every square inch in this picture when I made it,” Gibson says.

The Leica World in Wetzlar started out with a special cultural event in the New Year. Ralph Gibson, master of shadows and elegant nudes, talked about his life as photographer and about his experiences with the Leica M Monochrom during a lecture on January 16, 2015.