Ralph Gibson


Group and Private Sessions


2022 – New Dates TBA

Contact for new date announcement.



© Ralph Gibson

Much of what we know about art and photography has been learned from books. To this day the photography book remains the primary delivery system for the photographer within which to present their ideas in the most effectively controlled manner. The book is a physical object, not a metaphor; The pages of a book of photographs have an organic presence.

A successful photography book is an unbroken string of correct decisions, once the printed book is in hand there can be no changes made. For this reason, a seriously comprehensive dummy or maquette serves to present in a physical manner many of the qualitative aspects of the finished product. Knowledge of book production is of essential importance if the photographer wants to achieve their personal expression.

This workshop will clarify the bookmaking process in a clear and accessible manner. Starting with the creation of a book “dummy” or maquette which includes aspects of layout, design, double-page spreads, book cover impact and editorial thrust as well as binding, typography, separation for platemaking, distribution formulas and more will be addressed.

Combining the mix of group lectures with a private session this online format will benefit participants in providing the best of a group learning experience with an independent session with Ralph. A workshop is a shared experience within which the group generates momentum as a whole and the individual advances at a faster rate.


  • Overall Layout
  • Tactility / Viewing Distance
  • Typography
  • Scale and Proportion
  • Sequence and Rhythm
  • Ideal form for the specific content
  • Lithography concerns
  • Pricing and Distribution
  • Self-Publishing

To date, Ralph Gibson has produced more than 50 books. The computer has vastly enhanced the process of book making and production and he strongly believes that these are the golden years of the photography book.

“The art of creating a photography book begins with the dummy. The dummy or maquette is in fact the definition of the idea made concrete. It was while working on the sequence of The Somnambulist that I discovered this most basic and important principle of bookmaking. Taking the book idea out of the head and into the hands is how it is done. Through the years I have presented a final dummy to publishers and the fact is that in this manner the photographer and the publisher are talking about the same book…” – Ralph Gibson


All sessions will be held via the Zoom platform. The class will meet online over the course of two weekends.

The program will include eight two hours group sessions and two private one-hour sessions with Ralph.

Group Sessions:

10:00am- 12:00pm
2:00pm – 4:00pm

10:00am – 12:00pm
2:00pm – 4:00pm

10:00am- 12:00pm
2:00pm – 4:00pm

10:00am – 12:00pm
2:00pm – 4:00pm

Private Sessions:

Ralph will host two one-hour private sessions for each participant to discuss specific aspects of their book project.

Note: times are EDT.

A basic knowledge of InDesign is required. This will enable Ralph Gibson to import each student’s layout into his computer and make suggestions and changes via Screen Share visible to the individual photographer or the entire group.

Each participant must have a selection of 16 to 30 images ready to be considered for a book.

The workshop will be ideal for the intermediate to advanced photographer with a project or collection of images they feel could make a book. This experience is a rare opportunity to work with a true master of the fine art photography book.

Enrollment is limited to only 10 participants.


Ralph Gibson (b.1939) studied photography in the US Navy and further pursued the medium at the San Francisco Art Institute in the early 1960’s. Gibson went on to assist Dorothea Lange and later, Robert Frank on two of his films, launching his professional career. Having a strong interest in books and book-making, he founded his own publishing company, Lustrum Press out of New York and went on to create his trilogy, The Somnambulist, Deja Vu, and Days at Sea which were instant hits and helped solidify his mark as a key player in 20th century photography.

Gibson’s photographs are in many important museum collections and have been shown in hundreds of exhibitions across the globe. His awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, Leica Medal of Excellence, Lucie Lifetime Award among many others, and in 2018 he was appointed Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur de France.

See more of Ralphs work here.

An exhibit shows how I think about photography. But a book shows how I think about my photographs...
Ralph Gibson