“This book of words and images is beautifully sad, sadly beautiful…The words and images work together to weave a deeper reading.
Looking for glimpses of the dead is not a new kind of quest in photography — we’ve been trying to make “spirit photographs” since the medium began. How Webb succeeds is through metaphor and symbol, which reveal themselves slowly as the pages turn. Her great loss is hidden in complex images that take several viewings to understand. They convey not just three but four dimensions.
On this journey through re-membered territory, the photographs illustrate the psychological and spiritual realities of the place. The barren land that is the Dakotas appears first, starting with the dust jacket image, a view of the Badlands through the greenish tint of a partially opened car window. Some patches of grass stubbornly cling to the sandy foreground, leading us to the striped mountains miles beyond. The frontispiece is of a buffalo glimpsed through a sideview mirror, seen as if on the other side of time. The Wild West, indeed.”—an excerpt from Ellen Wallenstein’s review of “My Dakota” in Fraction Magazine, August 2012
“…The book is not wrapped in nostalgia. Its strength lies in the layered photographs where Norris Webb is looking for something in the distance, but what it is is not clear. It could be a memory. There is something between her and what is out there. Reflections and windows play an important role in layering the images with mystery and a sense of disconnectedness. Each photograph is open to interpretation and that room allows the reader to find their own memory of loss to complete it. The language of Norris Webb’s photographs is personal, but universal.
As an object the book has an intimate feel to it. It is sized 11½x9¾”, which forces one to bring the book closer. South Dakota is a land of open spaces and that feeling is repeated in the book with the use of white space and blank pages. The photographs are given room to breathe, to let the pain have space. One of the strongest elements of the book is the use of Norris Webb’s handwriting in pencil. It adds to the feeling of a journal. Her unique penmanship streams across pages connecting the pictures to her personal narrative. The handwriting and the photograph printed on the cover are extra details that set Radius Books apart from other publishers.
Norris Webb sets the book up as an elegy for her brother. The sense of loss is palatable, but it feels like a love poem for the land and for her brother. It is a not a South Dakota that can be found on any map. It exists only in the book and comes through clearly.”—TOM LEININGER, an excerpt from his Photo-Eye review of “My Dakota”
UPCOMING WORKSHOPS WITH ALEX AND REBECCA
––Friday Oct. 12 thru Sunday Oct. 14: Boston: Weekend Workshop, produced by the Robert Klein Gallery Do you know where you’re going next with your photography –– or where it’s taking you? This intensive weekend workshop will help photographers begin to understand their own distinct way of seeing the world. It will also help photographers figure out their next step photographically –– from deepening their own unique vision to the process of discovering and making a long-term project that they’re passionate about, as well as the process of how long-term projects evolve into books and exhibitions. A workshop for serious amateurs and professionals alike, it will taught by Alex and Rebecca, a creative team who often edit projects and books together –– including their joint book and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, exhibition, “Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs from Cuba,” Alex’s recent Aperture book, “The Suffering of Light,” and Rebecca’s new Radius book, “My Dakota.” Included in the workshop will be an editing exercise as well as an optional photography assignment and long-term project review. For more information –– including how to enroll and daily schedule –– please contact Maja at the Robert Klein Gallery: firstname.lastname@example.org
––FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5TH, 7PM, THRU SUNDAY, OCT. 7TH, 6PM: “Finding Your Vision@ The Dahl Weekend Workshop with Alex and Rebecca Webb,” Rapid City, South Dakota. Do you know where you are going with your photography — or where it is taking you? This workshop will include a gallery talk/walk through of the current “My Dakota” exhibit at The Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, and a digital assistant who can answer any your digital photography issues. Graduate and undergraduate college credit available for teachers and others who are interested. For all Colorado photographers interested in this workshop — or photographers who would like to fly into Denver — please note that Rapid City is only a six-hour drive from Denver, Colorado. For more information click here. If you have questions about the workshop, feel free to contact Rebecca directly at email@example.com.
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR ALEX AND REBECCA: AUGUST, SEPT., OCT.
––THURSDAY, JUNE 21, thru August 17, 2012: RICCO MARESCA GALLERY, NY: “Weather,” a group exhibition with a selection of photographs from MY DAKOTA, 6-8 pm.
SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA
––SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 11-11:45: “Here and There: The Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb,” South Dakota Festival of Books, Orpheum Anne Zabel Theater, with “My Dakota” and “The Suffering of Light” book signing to follow at 1pm with other festival authors.
RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA
–FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 7-8:30pm: “Together and Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb,” Dahl Arts Center, will include the “Our Dakota” slide show, Q&A with the Webbs, and book signing.
––JUNE-SEPTEMBER 2012: Launch of OUR DAKOTA Flickr site, an online photographic community This Flickr group is open to all photographers 15 and older with a present or past connection to South Dakota. Here is the link to the first assignment. There will be three assignments posted during the course of the “My Dakota” exhibition at the Dahl, and the group will culminate in an “Our Dakota” slide show to be show both at the SD Festival of Books in Sioux Falls the last week in September 2012 and at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City on Friday, Oct. 5th, at 7pm.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 7-8:30 PM: Slide Talk with Alex and Rebecca in the Fort Point arts neighborhood of Boston, a talk which is free and open to the public
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 4-5PM: Gallery Talk/Walk Through with Rebecca of her “My Dakota” show with the Robert Klein Gallery at Ars Libri, followed by a Q&A with Rebecca and Alex, who edited “My Dakota” with Rebecca.
OTHER RECENT LINKS FOR ALEX AND REBECCA:
Tags: Alex Webb, Dahl Arts Center, East London, Fraction Magazine, My Dakota, National Geographic, New York Times Lens Blog, Photo-Eye, Photo-Eye Magazine, Radius, Rebecca Norris Webb, Ricco Maresca Gallery, Robert Klein Gallery, Weather Show