7-13-15 Fine Art Photographer Ralph Gibson Lectures in NYC about Natural Light Portraiture on 7-11-14
Thanks to my awesome girlfriend (this is becoming a theme!), I got to attend a great lecture by fine art photographer Ralph Gibson at the New York Film Academy on Saturday morning!
Ralph Gibson’s Lecture
Ralph Gibson introduced us all to his career by showing us a slideshow of his work, chronologically, and interjecting his thoughts and theories about photography as he went. Although he began as a photographer in the military, he became interested in dream-like photos. I learned that he is best known for his surrealist book The Somnambulist published in 1973. He said he worked on it fanatically for three years while he lived, awesomely, in the Chelsea Hotel. He said that those three years he worked the hardest he’s ever worked in his life, but it was that book that made him famous. They are a collection of black and white surrealist photographs and they are very good!
From there, he said, he became well known and continued putting out art photography books, having founded his own publishing company to do just that. Interestingly, he did much of the graphic design on his books too.
From there he asked for questions, had a model come up and explained about photographing portraits and then held a final Q&A.
Ralph Gibson’s Advice to Photographers
Mr. Gibson was an engaging speaker and gave us a lot of information in just two hours, so I’d like to cover some of his advice here.
- He was the camera assistant to iconic photographer Dorothea Lange who imparted the idea that photography has “a point of departure”. This means that the best photographs are usually capture while you have a destination in mind. She told him that while you are journeying to that destination, the most incredible events happen which you can capture!
- If you master the human figure and architectural photography you will be able to handle all other types of photography
- If you you shoot with a fixed 50mm lens for two years, you will know about lenses (thankfully I’ve actually done that!)
- He is unafraid of photographing anything as he feels like it only himself and the subject and that’s it. Nothing else exists in that moment.
- Mr. Gibson challenged us to learn about ourselves, what we do well as photographers and when we find it, to push ourselves to use that skill.
- When I asked him what Leica cameras he used, he said he always as shot using Leica’s and then showed us how he shoots using his camera. I snapped a photo of the action – Ralph Gibson in action (top of article)!
- He has transitioned from traditional film to digital film and is excited about it.
- When he photographs, he is examining all the information in the frame. He said that everyone in the room is capable of creating a masterpiece, an icon photographic, but it must be intentional!
Keep taking photographs! I snapped the photos above with my iPhone 5, since it was the only camera I had on me. Remember: “the best camera, is the one you’ve got with you!”