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Greg Gibson Named One of the Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World for 2011 by American Photo Magazine

I’ve been fortunate to have had a fairly long and successful career in my 30 years as a photographer. Recently I received some news that truly caught me off guard and has prompted me to dust off my blog and update it finally, after more than a year’s hiatus.

I am honored to have been selected as one of the Top Ten Wedding Photographers for 2011 by American Photo Magazine. The article will be in the May/June issue of the magazine which will hit the news stands on Tuesday May 10th. The downloadable version was released on Zinio last weekend, so the news has been slowly trickling out. We were first notified about a month ago and it’s been a hard secret to keep all this time!

I have always been very proud of twice being a member of Pulitzer Prize winning teams during my career as a photojournalist, but I have to say this particular honor has very special meaning for me. While my Pulitzers are shared awards, this American Photo recognition is something I can say that I have finally earned on my own.

It is very humbling to be included in such a fantastic group of photographers. It is even more gratifying to be able to share this distinction with two of my closest and very best friends, Marcus Bell and Parker Pfister – in addition to Yervant Zanazanian whom I have long admired, respected and loved, as well as Dina Douglass, another great friend.

If you had asked me ten years ago if I would ever be a wedding photographer, I would have laughed at you. Back then most photographers looked at wedding photography as the lowest rung on the career ladder. My how times have changed.

Many people mistakenly think of wedding photography as trite, clichéd and meaningless images. One thing I have learned in the past eight years is that as a wedding photographer, I can have a tremendous impact on the lives of my clients. While we may not bring about mass social change, stop wars, or put an end to starvation in Africa, wedding photography can have the same kind of impact on a smaller scale within a family just as those types of images impact society.

As a documentary photographer, I am trying to provide my clients with more than just pretty pictures. I am trying to provide them with a legacy and heirloom that will outlast their lives here and can be passed down through their family for generations. If you’ve ever received a call or note from a former client telling you how much comfort your images provided during a time of need, or following the loss of a loved one, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I am reminded of a passage in the book “PHOTOSYNTHESIS” by Bryan Moss:

John & Edna Smith

John & Edna Smith – Photograph by Bryan Moss

My grandfather was an ordinary man with an ordinary name: John Smith.

He was a carpenter who built plain, solid houses for plain, solid people like himself.

When he put away his tools at age 87, he said it was the hardest thing he ever had to do. “I did it for her”, he told me, speaking of Edna, his wife of more than 60 years. “She needs me here.”

My grandfather’s hands were work-roughened and hard, but his manner was tender. I never heard him raise his voice to anyone.

He was 95 when he died quietly in his sleep, of nothing in particular, in a hospital bed in the little Indiana town he was born in.

You won’t discover any newspaper stories about John Smith…because he never did anything remotely newsworthy. He loved his wife and family, worked hard, kept the Sabbath.

There’s almost nothing left of him now. Just memories. And photographs.

These photographs are memories made visible. And tangible. I have one that I keep in a frame – of John and Edna, standing on their porch, watching us pull away in our car. They always stood there, steadying themselves on the porch railing, until we were out of sight, as if cherishing every moment spent with us.”

 
Perhaps this old Kodak commercial sums it up better than words:

What a privilege it is that week in, week out people that I don’t even know very well invite me into their homes and lives to share with me some of the most intense and personal moments they may ever experience. What power we have as photographers to be able to provide them with this lasting legacy of themselves, their family and these very meaningful few moments of their lives.

Thanks so much to all of my wonderful clients for the opportunities you have provided me. As my friend Cliff Mautner says, we are only as good as our clients allow us to be. That is so very true.

I also want to recognize and thank my best buddy Matt Mendelsohn. Matt is the person who encouraged me to become a wedding photographer back in 2002 when I was at a career crossroads and a low point in my life. Matt showed me the beautiful wedding work he had been producing, convinced me it was a good fit for my skill set, and nurtured me with leads and business as I was trying to get my foot in the door. Some days I want to punch him for doing that, but most days I just want to thank him profusely for being my best friend.

I certainly have to say thanks to my beautiful wife Patti who is the real backbone of our business. She takes care of our clients, gets all the behind the scenes work done, and supports me in so many ways. On July 19, we’ll celebrate our own 25th wedding anniversary!

Lastly I want to say thanks to all of those who have been a part of the GGP team over the past few years. Our production staffer Kristi Sherk makes us look good all the time by doing a fantastic job retouching our images. Kurstin Roe did a great job in that position prior to Kristi. Thanks also to my superb team of second shooters and assistants like Charlie Archambault, Benjamin Myers, Kurstin, Cliff Owen, Madeline Marshall, Maggie Starbard, Ned Bonzi, Veronica Lukasova and others who have helped out along the way. The strength of your work allows me so much room for creative freedom and I love working with you all.

This is actually the fourth time American Photo has published a Top Ten list. As you’ll read on the Editor’s page below, you can only appear in the list once. I guess perhaps this really maybe puts me in the Top 40, but truthfully I’m beyond humbled to even be in that rarified company.

Now, I just have to deal with even more constant pressure to update my blog more than once every 18 months. Okay, I’ll try!

So with that, here is the complete list of American Photo’s Top Ten Photographers for 2011 in alphabetical order:

Camille & Chadwick Bensler – Jonetsu Photography – Vancouver, BC
Dina Douglass – Andrena Photography – Los Angeles, CA
Greg Gibson – Greg Gibson Photography – Washington, DC
Jesse & Whitney Chamberlin – Our Labor of Love – Atlanta, GA
Jonas Peterson – Jonas Peterson – Brisbane, Australia
Marcus Bell – Studio Impressions, Brisbane, Australia
Jaclyn & Nate Kaiser – The Image is Found – San Diego, CA
Parker Pfister – Parker J. Pfister – Asheville, NC
Rocco Ancora – Rocco Ancora – Melbourne, Australia
Yervant Zanazanian – Yervant – Melbourne, Austrailia

Below is the cover of the magazine, the letter from the Editor page explaining the selection process and advisory panel, along with my featured pages in the article.

Cover Letter From the Editor

Opening Spread

Opening Spread Photograph by Marcus Bell

National Museum of Women in the Arts Greg Gibson

 

 

  • May 4, 2011 - 8:42 pm

    Sarah Follan - Wow, an updated blog post by Greg Gibson LOL:) Congratulations Greg! Such a well deserved title. Not only are you an AMAZING wedding photographer but you are a wonderful & very wise man. I hold you personally responsible for being the pivotal reason I have got off the fence and committed myself to focussing on wedding photography. It was such a pleasure to see & learn from you at WPPI. Thank you for inspiring me!!
    P.S – please keep the blog updated a little more 😉

  • May 4, 2011 - 11:01 pm

    Dina Douglass - Greg, this is so richly deserved. Your imagery has always been an inspiration to me, and the quality of you as a person inspires me. I am so honored to be on this list with you, and to count you among my friends. Thank you for the incredibly kind note, and for sharing so much of yourself in this post. Your artistry and talents know few bounds, and I’m so happy for you. Hugs, Dina

  • May 5, 2011 - 6:44 am

    Laura Weatherly - Congratulations! A well-deserved honor, Greg. Not only is your work consistently stunning, you are always wonderful to work with. I have had such a great time getting to know you over the past few years and more than a few weddings. Great post, too. The Kodak commercial made me a bit teary!

  • May 5, 2011 - 7:00 am

    Izan Petterle - Hey Greg! I’m very proud to hear this great news, I am not surprised because I ever knew that you are one of the Best, you are bom pra caralho….:) Let’s keep in touch, it’s time for you to come back again to Brazil! Grande abraço!

  • May 5, 2011 - 7:28 am

    Michelle Lindsay - Well deserved. I saw you speak at the WPPI Roadshow here in the DC area (I’m a DC based wedding photographer as well) and was truly inspired by not only your images, but your words. Your sincerity and genuine love for what you do shows through. Congratulations. This is an amazing accomplishment.

  • May 5, 2011 - 8:02 am

    Suzy Mast Lee - I’m extremely proud of you! You deserve it! Way to go!

  • May 5, 2011 - 8:40 am

    Sara Muchnick - So excited for you Greg. You deserve it!

  • May 5, 2011 - 9:30 am

    greg - Thanks Sarah Follan – you are quickly becoming one of my all time favorite students! It’s refreshing to know that all that hard work at WPPI is paying off!

  • May 5, 2011 - 9:31 am

    greg - Thanks Dina! I’m so happy to share this recognition with you! I’ve watched you grow so much over the past few years after stepping out on your own. Love you work and more than anything love the personality you bring with it.

  • May 5, 2011 - 9:33 am

    greg - Thanks Laura – you’ve been a big inspiration and help to me in trying to figure all this wedding stuff out. Thanks for all your help. I love working with you and all your crew. You guys know how to keep things moving while at the same time letting professionals do their jobs. That Kodak commercial always gets me too no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

  • May 5, 2011 - 9:34 am

    greg - Izan – what can I say? You have had such a major influence on me. You’re a mentor and a friend. Yes, it’s time for a return to Brazil. I’m ready. I miss my friends in the Pantanal and think about them almost every day.

  • May 5, 2011 - 9:35 am

    greg - Thanks Michelle – it’s nice to know people actually payed attention at that 8am presentation on workflow! That’s like a first period math class! Thanks for your kind words.

  • May 5, 2011 - 9:36 am

    greg - Hey Suzy – thanks so much. Loved seeing the pictures from your Africa trip!

  • May 5, 2011 - 9:36 am

    greg - Thanks Sara! Thanks for all your help the past couple of years. Love working with you and will see you very soon!

  • May 5, 2011 - 12:28 pm

    mike mundell - wow! major congrats!

  • May 5, 2011 - 1:08 pm

    Cliff - Congrats Greg, very well deserved!

  • May 5, 2011 - 7:42 pm

    jason starr - Like we needed American Photo to tell up that! Well done mate.

  • May 6, 2011 - 8:24 am

    Ashley - Wow Greg, this is great news, and so well deserved! How lucky are we that we were able to snag you for our wedding?!?!

  • May 6, 2011 - 2:36 pm

    Otto Haring - Congratulations! You are a great inspiration!!!

  • May 6, 2011 - 3:08 pm

    Colleen Quinn - Greg- almost 7 years on, Brad and I still marvel at the photos from the wedding which truly did capture the day. I am always grateful to Matt M for recommending you, and grateful to you for being willing to work with us despite the unusual circumstance that prevented us from meet in advance. Congrats on this well-deserved honor!

  • May 6, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    J Sandifer - Congrats Greg!

    I was wondering what it was going to take to get you to blog again 🙂 guess top 10 it is! This is so well deserved, you bring so much to our creative community and are so giving of your time and talent. Enjoy the spotlight!

    J

  • May 7, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    Joe Milton - Congrats Greg. Well deserved. It’s good to know that real photography by a true master of the craft gets the recognition it deserves.

  • May 8, 2011 - 7:48 am

    Katie Condon - Congratulations Greg! You photographed our wedding back in August 2005, and I still love looking at your work and reliving the more subtle moments of the day that you gracefully and artistically captured. You deserve this honor for the gift you give each one of the couples you work with. BRAVO!

    PS It’s great to see the blog up and running again!

  • May 10, 2011 - 2:44 am

    ben chrisman - Double G! So very well deserved. You could be on this list ever year and it would be the truth each time.

  • May 10, 2011 - 7:56 pm

    Johnny Bivera - Greg, you are one of my heroes! Congrat’s to everything…

  • May 14, 2011 - 4:33 pm

    Ken Cedeno - Greg! Super conrgat’s on such well deserved win. All the best.

  • May 14, 2011 - 9:37 pm

    Seth Nickerson - Congratulations, Mr. Gibson! I was so happy to see a local photographer in there when I flipped through the list. Your work is amazing.

  • May 17, 2011 - 5:15 am

    Joe G - Greg,

    So proud of you buddy! Always been a privilege and treat to learn from you, and occasionally shoot for you. Well deserved as I always said. About time, as your work constantly inspires!

    Best,
    Joe G

  • May 17, 2011 - 9:21 am

    greg - Thanks so much for all the kind words everyone. It’s been great to hear from so many former wedding couples, as well as my photography colleagues. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to write a few words to me. I am blessed to have such a great group of friends.

  • May 18, 2011 - 8:27 am

    Karla Whittaker - Congratulations! You certainly deserve such an honor. The pictures you took at our wedding last year were just beautiful, so I can’t say I’m suprised you were chosen for this. Matt and I are now having a baby in the fall, so I’ll probably hit you up for some more family pictures in the future 🙂

  • May 22, 2011 - 6:44 am

    Gerhard - Congratulations Greg, you deserve it!!! Matt’s part and influence in your life seem to played a crucial role, so thanks to Matt as well for helping you all the way!!! You both are precious people!!

  • May 27, 2011 - 12:08 pm

    Rachel Tatem - Congrats on your success! You make me strive harder and longer!

  • May 30, 2011 - 8:34 am

    Ann Niddrie - Congratulations! Your work is just beautiful, consistent yet varied and responsive to your couples. An inspiration to aspiring photographers.

  • June 2, 2011 - 4:53 am

    De 10 beste trouwfotografen van de wereld? | WE LOVE WEDDINGS - […] Dina Douglass, Andrena Photography; in AMPhoto Greg Gibson; in AMPhoto Jesse & Whitney Chamberlin, Our Labor of Love; in AMPhoto Nate & Jaclyn Kaiser, The Image […]

  • June 2, 2011 - 9:11 am

    Brisbane wedding photographer | David Ferguson - Outstanding. Congratulations. I love your work and will be a keen follower of your newfound love of blogging and hope you are true to our word so we can see your amazing talent more often.

  • July 10, 2011 - 11:27 pm

    Mike Sargent - Greg, congratulations, the recognition is well deserved and you’ve earned it! I’ve continued to watch your work over the years, you’ve clearly continued to grow and blossom my friend.

  • July 13, 2011 - 6:02 pm

    Katy Robinette Vernon - Well-deserved, Greg!! We just celebrated our one year anniversary a couple weeks ago and I still look at our wedding photos at least once a week. I’m so glad you were able to capture the most amazing day of our lives!!!!

  • July 29, 2011 - 1:55 pm

    Sabrina & Matt Gershwin - Congratulations Greg! We were so proud to have you as our wedding photographer last year, and now we are truly honored. Your work was the highlight of our entire wedding experience. Keep those blog updates coming…we love seeing you in action! 🙂

  • August 17, 2011 - 10:38 pm

    Derek Campbell - You deserve it, your photography is stunning and you are a true artist. Thanks for all of the inspiration after looking through your work.

  • August 25, 2011 - 7:40 pm

    Pierre Graf - You deserve it for sure. Congratulation.

  • October 19, 2011 - 12:42 pm

    Joe - I’m used to commenting on pretty pictures when I hit up other photographers blogs… but now I’m finding that your words, themselves, move me. Your reasons for photographing are worthy of an award in-and-of-themselves. Congratulations for the accolades, it appears they are well deserved.

  • October 24, 2011 - 11:18 pm

    Philip Thomas - Late into the game here to leave a comment. I read the issue on Zinio when it came out in May. Congratulations!
    Just a quick note to let you know you’re a huge inspiration to me and I think you’ve succinctly summed up how we all feel about what we do for a living. I also enjoyed your workshop seminar last year at WPPI. It’s always very interesting to hear your stories and keep us all engaged and motivated.

    Thank you and congratulations.

  • November 23, 2011 - 7:09 am

    Wedding photographer in Essex - Congratulations Greg, what a fantastic title!

  • November 30, 2011 - 10:36 pm

    Louis Blythe - Congratulations mate! You really are the business!

  • December 8, 2011 - 4:53 pm

    Chris - Congrats Greg! Way to represent the DC area.

  • January 3, 2012 - 9:47 pm

    Life with Kaishon - Congratulations to you on this great honor. WOW! I really love your work from just glancing briefly, but what I love even more is your post and the words you shared. Heartfelt and compelling. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing. May God richly bless you this new year.

  • January 27, 2012 - 7:27 pm

    Tony Sale - Congratulations a wonderful achievement

  • April 26, 2012 - 7:40 am

    Kevin Beeken - WOW! Your photographs say it all. I have been a dreamer photographer for decades. I even once had an impromptu interview with the editor of National Geographic magazine for a staff position but life got in the way, damn! Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing.

  • May 16, 2012 - 8:00 am

    Barney Walters - Congratulations and some amazing pictures, what a great achievement. You must know that where you are is where many aim, be proud.

  • December 28, 2012 - 12:20 pm

    Dmitri Tsitelauri - wedding photographer - Nice! That’s a heck of achievement… Congratulations Greg!

  • May 17, 2013 - 12:36 pm

    David @ AiP Creative Photography - Congratulations! Great work!

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