Ralph Gibson
[Photographer, b. 1939, Los Angeles, California, lives in New York.]

 I embrace the abstract in photography and exist on a few bits of order extracted from the chaos of reality. 
 One night I was on my [Navy] ship... on my first cruise crossing the North Atlantic in a horrible storm, chained to the rails so I wouldn’t fall overboard. In this lightning and thunder and hail, in this misery, I shouted at the heavens with my little squeaky voice and said, “Someday I’m going to be a photographer!” It was as big an epiphany as any man ever had. 
 I’m too impatient to use a tripod. 
 I’m interested in producing truncated shapes in proportion to the frame and composition, shapes that are preferably luminous. I’m not interested in the full-figure. I want to abstract forms. 
 It occurs to me that at the beginning one works passionately to learn photography. This takes years, and the craft is usually formed during this period. Then as time passes one finds oneself more in the role of serving the medium... Then, as in the example of several masters that I have been privileged to know personally, it appears that by having devoted oneself totally to the medium, one becomes photography. 
 I believe that the medium of photography prevails entirely as an act of faith in the souls of those who love and practice it. And so every photograph becomes another subtle variation on the theme of the medium itself.