In short

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Conversation on Chinese Photography performance at Walther Collection

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Photographe anonyme. Un Picasso à tomber par terre.
Allemagne, 1955. Tirage argentique d'époque légèrement rehaussé. 21,3 x 16,2 cm
Photographe anonyme. Un Picasso à tomber par terre. Allemagne, 1955. Tirage argentique d'époque légèrement rehaussé. 21,3 x 16,2 cm

Ralph Gibson‘s new book “Mono,” which features images taken with the Leica M Monochrom, was released on last month at the Leica Store in  Lisse. Also announced at the event was the exclusive, limited edition Leica M Monochrom “Ralph Gibson.”

These words about making images could be written in English, French, or any number of languages we know  exist in the world. I am writing both about images and my life long relationship to the creative process.  We could talk about the moon in many different languages but it would still be the moon being described.

So when I work in digital, I might be describing the same subject but in a different language, a somewhat altered syntax. But the subject is the same……. And the very  moment I discovered that I could get my “look” on digital, I was convinced that this was a  new language that I wanted very much to explore. Imagine my excitement after 55 years in the darkroom. It must be said that the silver-gelatin print is still more beautiful than the ink-jet but at the rate technology is progressing it is not inconceivable that the substrates will become even more desirable. For the moment I am totally inspired and enjoy picking up my Leica and expressing my thoughts and visual ideas. I have always liked picking up my Leica…

I make books because my chosen audience is you, the gentle reader, the book lover who actually wants to reflect on the images and their interrelationships. This is how my work has evolved over  decades. I so enjoy seeing the image well printed on a fine sheet of paper, beautifully bound and warm in the hand and seen at the perfect viewing distance. This is a form of total artistic autonomy.

A book is about part ;  part to whole. This translates as page to page; page to book. The book then becomes an object in its own right, a thing unto itself that can have a long and interesting life. It can sit on  shelf for years and the instant it is taken down and viewed it springs to life…….a constantly renewable form of energy.

Many years ago the great photographer Andre Kertesz told me that “ a photographer must learn to photograph everything”….. Well when one is fortunate enough to have such a good advisor, perhaps it is wise to obey. The images in this book are made with an eye to the idea that with the MONO it is possible to “ photograph everything..”

Ralph Gibson

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Ralph Gibson, L’Histoire de France

The work in this exhibition at the Hotel Scribe, in Paris, are Dye Transfer photographs selected by Jean-Luc Monterosso from the collection of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie from Ralph Gibson’s 1991 book and exhibition entitled L’Histoire de France.