Ashley Gilbertson was born in Australia. He began his career at thirteen taking photographs of skateboarders and graffiti artists, embarking on a path that ultimately led to a special interest in conflict and displaced peoples.
With no formal education, Ashley studied photojournalism in Melbourne under Emmanuel Santos, and later from Masao Endo, Emmanuel’s mentor, in the Japanese highlands. Ashley’s tasks there—or lessons, he is still unsure—consisted of mixing cement and dragging logs uphill to where he helped assemble them into cabin amidst the mountains.
Ashley Gilbertson’s photographs from Iraq, where he worked almost exclusively from 2002 until 2008 on assignment for The New York Times, gained him recognition from the Overseas Press Club who, in 2004, honored him with prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal for his work in Falluja.
His first book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, was released in 2007. Since then, Gilbertson has been working on Bedrooms of Fallen, a collection of photographs depicting the intact bedrooms of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, a substantial part of the project was commissioned by The New York Times Magazine and published in March of 2010.
Gilbertson meanwhile continued to concentrate on the two wars by examining veterans’ issues including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide for Time and The Virginia Quarterly Review.