Following in the legacy of Robert Frank (whom Gibson once assisted) and William Klein, Gibson helped push contemporary photography beyond photography’s traditional bounds of factual documentation. Gibson regarded photography as a type of “sense” and expanded its domain as an expressive media, capable of revealing inner (non-visible) essences. In order to sensualize the abstract themes that Gibson was seeking, themes like dreams and desires, he used incredibly simplified compositions, constructing almost architectural spaces out of line and form.
Starting from his books The Somnambulist, Deja vu, and Days at Sea, Ralph Gibson pushed deeper into this world of new senses. The surrealism he utilized was not merely about escaping or eliminating reality but also served as a reflection of its innermost being. In other words, in each of his suspenseful frames, he captured the dream-world of unconsciousness that was also another reflection of reality.