In 1959 his family moved to California where he lived till joining the Marine Corps in 1967 at the age of 19.
After completing a tour of duty in Vietnam he returned to California and a undergraduate admission to UCLA.
Becoming interested in photography in 1974 he pursued the interest on his own, eventually traveling to New York where he worked as a photographic assistant and various other jobs as he aspired to become a fashion photographer.
In 1980 he left New York, hitchhiking throughout the American West doing odd jobs and photographing Cowboys.
Finally concentrating on Native American ranch hands and Blacks Rodeo riders.
Gleaton stopped in Texas where he was befriended by a group of Black Rodeo performers. Those times in Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Kansas and Colorado eventually formed the core of his COWBOYS: Reconstructing an American Myth. A series of Photos and portraits of African-, Native-, Mexican and Euro-American Cowboys.
Photographer Tony Gleaton died on August 14, 2015 of oral cancer at the age of 67.