Eric Fischl Interview with Ralph Gibson on his photo book ‘Nude’ – 15th September 2008

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Assignment 3 - Ralph Gibson Critical Review, Research on Artist, Review of Work

Ralph Gibson book ‘Nude’ (Taschen 2012), is a tomb measuring35.7 x 3.9 x 26.8 cm and containing 300 images that span across his career as a professional photographer. This interview on Nudes come 29 years after the one he gave in 1979 in the book Nude Theory see earlier blog

This blog summarises some of the main points raised in the interview, but it does not compare them – this will be a subject for my critical review. Please also see my mind map of the interview which provides additional information.

These are some of the main points from my mind map:-

His approach to photographing nudes.

– He tends not to show the head of the nude that often, in order to provide a more lasting image.
– His objective is to get close to the subject so that he can interact with the shapes and the light, as fe feels the forms of the body talk to one another.
– He tries not to pose the nude but relies on his perception and the models natural response to guide him.
– The portrait format is best suited to a nude as it suits it shape and also creates more tension in the image.
– He uses diagonals quite often in his photographs which he has subconsciously done since 1969, but has only recently notice this.
– Man has always tried to comprehend the female form but it has remained illusive but still he hunts for it – which is why he was so drawn to the ‘nude’ as special area of study.
– Ears and feet are areas of the nude he does not like much, preferring the shapes of the different body areas, and the simpler features such as the navel and nipple.
– Gibson wants his photographs to catch the eye and be open to different interpretations.
– He prefers not to include any real clues to things like to dates and times so that the images appear timeless. He prefers that his photographs are abstract but with a sense of reality about them – like dreams memories, – and for them to have a melody.
– Exhibitions show Ralph Gibson’s relationship to the ‘medium’, photography, and the camera – whereas his book tells the viewer about what he, (the photographer), feels about the set of photographs. Setting out a book is a ‘prolongation’ of the creative processes, and that the layout itself can be greater then the sum of the parts through the visual overtones produced by using techniques such the diptych.
– He used 300 pictures when he created the book ‘Nude’ and these had to work together and individually. His method for doing this was to design a trigger into the photographs that would create continual interest, attention and awareness.

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At a practical level, a good photograph is more about being in the right place at the right time and knowing what to take then the type of camera, skill and technique. My ambition is to show how anyone with a camera can produce great photographs when they visit London.

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