Early on, Gilbertson’s work focused on refugees, an interest that in 2002, led him to Iraq. His work from that country, earned critical acclaim from the Overseas Press Club which awarded Gilbertson the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his 2004 work in Falluja. Gilberton’s first book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, released in 2007 to critical acclaim, went on to become a best seller.
After Iraq, Gilbertson shifted his focus to veterans issues, drawing attention to post traumatic stress disorder, suicide, and traumatic brain injuries. Gilbertson’s second book, Bedrooms Of The Fallen, a collection of photographs depicting the intact bedrooms of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was released in 2014. That work was published in The New York Times Magazine, and received a prestigious Ellie award, regarded then as the Pulitzer Prize of the magazine world. Some of those photos were on display earlier this year at the National Portrait Gallery.