ON PRESS: Cover Stories 1; Jet Lag

Deciding on a cover image for a book of photographs from thirty years can be a little daunting.  Rebecca and I considered many possibilities, but we always came back to this particular image, the back cover of my first book, “Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds,” and  the only photograph in the survey book from India.

It looks like we won’t see the actual cover of “The Suffering of Light,” until the last day on press; however, since like many cover images, a version of this photograph also appears in the interior of the book, we have already done a press check on this version, a video clip of which you’ll find below.–Alex Webb

Alex and I often encourage photographers to try to “work from the unconscious,” to respond spontaneously to the world, to photograph “on one’s nerves” in order to remain open enough to find and make one’s most unique and dynamic images.

The good thing – and probably the most challenging thing — about being on press in Hong Kong is that working half unconsciously happens rather effortlessly – whether one wants to or not.  Checking test sheets at 4pm in Hong Kong, you can’t help but feel the strong, tidal-like pull of sleep, since 4PM is 3AM in New York City.  It’s nearly impossible to get over such severe jet lag in a week.

Maybe being half awake/half asleep on press in the topsy turvy world of Hong Kong isn’t such a bad thing.  Perhaps it’s just a short cut to collaborating with one’s own unconscious.—Rebecca Norris Webb

Rebecca Norris Webb, photograph of "Monterrey, Mexico, 1985," by Alex Webb

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2 Responses to “ON PRESS: Cover Stories 1; Jet Lag”

  1. Bruce Bottomley Says:

    Thanks so much for the updates this week. The video clips do add to my understanding from what you have mentioned previously in the New York workshop and here on the Two Looks blog.
    This one made me feel a bit nervous as I imagine the jet lag and various pressures. Hoping you both get some good rest soon!

  2. Shane Gray Says:

    I’m pleased that the press process is working out for you both; I’m looking forward to having a copy on my bookshelf at some point! The front cover dilemma must really be an editing scenario unto itself – as implied; especially considering the context of the book.

    The comments about time zones and jet-lag recovery (or not!) especially in a land where the culture can be all consuming are appreciated. Similarly I remember having a bout of insomnia in India – it felt like another world within another world, walking the streets at 4.00 in the morning…The state of mind seldom visited can throw up some interesting and very valid thought processes I think…

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