Ralph Gibson 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 he has produced over 40 monographs, his most current projects being "State of the Axe,” published by Yale University Press in Fall of 2008 and "NUDE" by Taschen, 2009. His photographs are included in over one hundred and fifty museum collections around the world, and have appeared in hundreds of 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 and the Silver Plumb Award from the Landmarks Preservation Committee. 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 2007 he received The Lucie Award for Fine Art Photography. He has worked exclusively with the Leica for almost 50 years.