Gillian Laub is a photographer and filmmaker based in New York. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in comparative literature before studying photography at the International Center of Photography, where her love of visual storytelling and family narratives began. Laub’s first monograph, “Testimony” (Aperture, 2007), began as a response to the media coverage during the second intifada in the Middle East, and a desire to create a dialogue between apparent enemies. This work is comprised of portraits and testimonies from Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, Lebanese, and Palestinians all directly and indirectly affected by the complicated geopolitical context in which they lived.
Back in the U.S., Laub spent over a decade working in Georgia exploring issues of lingering racism in the American South. This work became “Southern Rites,” Laub’s first feature length documentary film, which she directed and produced along with musician John Legend for HBO. “Southern Rites” premiered on HBO in May 2015. Her monograph, “Southern Rites” (Damiani, 2015) and travelling exhibition by the same title came out in conjunction with the film and are being used for an educational outreach campaign in schools and institutions across the country. “Southern Rites” was named one of the best photo books of 2015 by TIME, Smithsonian, Vogue, LensCulture, and American Photo. It was also nominated for a Lucie award and Humanitas award. Laub has been interviewed on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Good Morning America, Times Talks and numerous others. Laub contributes to many publications including TIME and The New York Times Magazine. Her work is collected and exhibited internationally. On the commercial side, Gillian has shot campaigns for brands such as PUMA, Airbnb, Fusion and ESPN.