Gilpin studied at the Clarence White School between 1916 and 1918 and was strongly influenced by a range of teachers: White, Paul Anderson, Max Weber, Bernard Horne, and Anton Bruehl. Returning to her native Colorado, Gilpin focused on many of the most spectacular sites in the southwest, including the archaeological ruins of the Navajo and Pueblo Indians.
Gilpin's view of Colorado's famous Pikes Peak documented a western landscape that increasingly faced modern-day intrusions. Employing the delicate tones of platinum and a shallow plane of focus, with the military airplanes given emphasis as three tiny black specks in the sky, she created a dreamlike landscape in which nature no longer reigned in solitude.
Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)