Archive for the ‘Outside the Frame’ Category

TWO QUESTIONS: On Confusion and Elegy; On Color and Street Photography

August 27, 2012

©Rebecca Norris Webb, “Hot Springs,” from “My Dakota”

PDN’S CONOR RISCH: In many of the images [in My Dakota] we are looking through something, or there is a reflection, or there is a unique or confounding or even disorienting perspective. What roles do perspective and layering play in your images? Do you intend to briefly disorient the viewer with your compositions?

REBECCA NORRIS WEBB: I photograph very intuitively. Looking at some of these disorienting photographs now  ––where it’s difficult to distinguish the background from the foreground, for instance –– I realize that kind of confusion was very much a part of my grief, especially when I was most grief struck.

Those first months after my brother died, my dreams of him seemed more real than when I awoke to a world without him. Added to that, I wasn’t sleeping well and I was traveling alone in parts of South Dakota that I’d never visited.  So that difficult time in my life was a blur of motel rooms, back roads, and dreams of my brother.

During that time, I not only felt confused while photographing in South Dakota, but I also felt confused when I returned to Brooklyn to edit the film and to try to make sense of what I’d been doing. I remember showing the work to my friend, Gene Richards, who at that time was traveling back and forth from Brooklyn to the Great Plains to work on his book, The Blue Room.  When he asked me how things were coming along with My Dakota, I told him I wasn’t sure what I was doing.  He said to me in his soft, gentle voice, “Becky, sometimes confusion is good.”

©Rebecca Norris Webb, “Storm Light,” from “My Dakota”

PDN’S CR: It’s interesting to me that you say in the book that South Dakota’s landscape was one of the few things that eased your unsettled heart, because for me, so many of the photographs in the book are unsettling, and I can’t help but imagine how seeing and photographing some of these things might magnify feelings of heartbreak, sadness and distress. I am not sure there is a question in there… Can seeing and photographing unsettling things help put you at ease?

RNW: I know it seems like a contradiction, but the elegy –– and I consider My Dakota a kind of elegy –– is a traditional, poetic form expansive enough to hold both life and death within it, because ultimately it’s about expressing very alive feelings for someone who is no more. “To grieve is to lament, to mourn, to let sorrow inhabit one’s very being,” notes the poet Ed Hirsch. “ Implicit in poetry is the notion that we are deepened by heartbreaks, that we are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief, by our refusal to vanish –– to let others vanish ––without leaving a poetic record,” he adds.

TO READ THE ENTIRE PDN ONLINE Q&A WITH REBECCA AND CONOR RISCH ABOUT “MY DAKOTA,” PLEASE CLICK HERE.

©Alex Webb, “Grenada, 1979,” from “Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds”

WOONG-JAE SHIN: You said, “Color is another language.” What does this mean? What does color mean to you in terms of an element of your photography?

ALEX WEBB: Color adds another dimension to my photographic experience of the world.  It transforms the image entirely, adding other emotional notes.  For example, sometimes a red is a soothing red, sometimes it is a disturbing red. Just imagine the cover of my first book –– an image of a man in a glowing red bar in Grenada –– in black and white, without those vibrant colors.  It would be an entirely different visual experience…

WJS: What is street photography? You’ve often said that it’s like gambling and is 90% about failure.

AW: For me street photography isn’t simply about photographing on the street.  It’s also about an attitude, a way of approaching the world photographically.  It has to do with photographing a place without preconceptions –– or as few preconceptions as possible.  It’s about exploration and discovery, not about conscious thought.  It’s about finding things in the world, and relationships in the world, that are unexpected. It’s about wandering without extensive rational purpose, allowing the camera and one’s experiences to guide one’s way.

It’s a way of working that relies heavily on serendipity, hence the fact that most of the time the photographs are not successful.  The world is the street photographer’s partner and it only gives him or her so many photographs.

THIS INTERVIEW IS AN EXCERPT FROM A Q&A WITH ALEX & REBECCA FOR THE ANNIVERSARY ISSUE OF SOUTH KOREA’S NOTED PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE, “THE MONTHLY PHOTO.” 

©Alex Webb, “Ciudad Madero, Mexico, 1983,” from “The Suffering of Light”

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: maja@robertkleingallery.com

––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 rebeccanorriswebb@yahoo.com.

TWO NEW WORKSHOPS — JUST ADDED!

—SUNDAY, OCT. 28TH, 10 -5pm, STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP @ MCNY. Please join Alex and Rebecca at the Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave., for this one-day street photography workshop, which will include an assignment related to the current street photography exhibit at the museum and gallery talk by curator, Sean Corcoran.  To find out more information including how to register click here.

 —SUNDAY, DEC. 9TH, 10-5PM, MASTER CLASS: MIAMI: A ONE-DAY STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP WITH ALEX WEBB AND REBECCA NORRIS WEBB.  A one-day street photography workshop in conjunction with the first Miami Street Photography Festival, which also coincides with Miami Basel Art Fair. (If you wish, you can join a street photography group the day before (Sat., Dec. 8th) and photograph Little Havana, an assignment which the Webb will edit with you on Sunday.)  To register and learn more, click here.

UPCOMING EVENTS FOR ALEX AND REBECCA:  SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER 2012

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.

BOSTON

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:

LINK TO THE NEW YORK TIMES LENS BLOG Q&A WITH REBECCA ABOUT “MY DAKOTA”

LINK TO ALEX’S EAST LONDON PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE AUGUST 2012 ISSUE OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

TO READ THE  FRACTION MAGAZINE REVIEW of MY DAKOTA CLICK HERE.

 

WEATHER @ Ricco Maresca Gallery, June 21-Aug. 17

June 18, 2012

©Rebecca Norris Webb, “Storm Light,” from the new book, “My Dakota,” featured in this summer’s “Weather” show at Ricco/Maresca Gallery in NYC

In this land of flash floods and blizzards, hail storms and brutal winds, it’s rare to meet a South Dakotan who hasn’t been humbled by the weather.   

For me, it happened when I was driving home for the holidays from college with my younger sister, Mary.  We had just filled up her old Toyoto with gas in Wall, South Dakota, and were again heading West on I-90 after six hours of  painstakingly slow driving on snow-packed, slippery roads. We were both relieved to be on the “home stretch” to our parents’ place in the Black Hills because the radio’s winter weather warnings were urging all cars off the roads –- including the interstate, because, if the blizzard weren’t enough, there were also treacherous subzero windchill temperatures to contend with.  Was it 20 below? Thirty below?  I think it was starting to snow again, or perhaps it never really stopped…

All I remember for sure is that we were one of the last cars left on the road that Christmas Eve, that the sun was setting, and, that, all of a sudden Mary’s old car rolled to a halt.  We looked at each other –- pre-med student to poetry student –– in the rapidly dimming light, both of us too afraid to say what was really on our minds –- if we didn’t make the right decisions now, enough exposure to such bone-chilling temperatures could lead to the loss of fingers or toes, and lengthy exposure could be lethal.  Did I mention this was before cell phones?  I was the older, but Mary was the physically stronger of the two of us.  Who would stay and who would venture out for gas?  And exactly how far away was the gas station?  It seemed only a few minutes ago we’d filled up — and Mary, more the scientist than I –– was probably the first one to suspect that water in the gas from Wall was to blame for the car’s freezing up.  Could it be, however, that we’d actually been driving more like 10 or 15 minutes since the Wall gas stop ––  and , if so, just how many miles would that turn out to be?  

I remember staring long and hard into my sister’s dark brown, thoughtful eyes.  Before either of us could speak, one of those usually annoying, road-hogging semi-trailer trucks pulled up behind us and offered us a ride to the nearest gas station. I was never so thankful to be squooshed into such tight quarters with my sister in that wonderfully stuffy, musty cab that smelled of diesel and tobacco…I remember feeling oddly giddy as I clutched my AAA card in my right hand, which just wouldn’t stop shaking.–Rebecca Norris Webb

–”My Dakota” Q&A with Rebecca and Jim Estrin on the New York Times Lens Blog.

–Link to “My Dakota,” which was recently featured on the New Yorker Photo Booth blog.

–Link to “Weather” mentioned on Elizabeth Avedon’s blog.

–Link to “My Dakota” at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, June 1-Oct. 13, 2012.

–Link to “My Dakota” on Aperture’s Exposures blog.

“My Dakota” on Time Magazine’s Light Box

©Rebecca Norris Webb, “Homestead Blizzard,” from the book, “My Dakota,” is part of the Weather” show at Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NYC

UPCOMING EVENTS: JUNE, JULY & AUGUST

NEW YORK

––THURSDAY, JUNE 21, RICCO MARESCA GALLERY, NY: “Weather,” a group exhibition with a selection of photographs from MY DAKOTA, 6-8 pm.  The exhibition runs through August 17.

RAPID CITY, SD

––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.

––TUESDAY, AUGUST 7TH: “Slide Talk with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb” at the “My Dakota” exhibition at the Dahl.  11:30-12:30pm.  Brown bag lunch event in the Ruth Brennan Gallery.  Free and open to the public.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA

June 1-30, 2012. “The Suffering of Light: 30 Years of Photographs,” at the Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, VA

SNOWMASS, COLORADO:

TUESDAY, JULY 7-8pm:“Together and Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb,” Schermer Hall, Anderson Ranch Campus, Snowmass, Colorado.  Q&A with the Webbs and book signing of “The Suffering of Light” and “My Dakota” to follow.

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS WITH ALEX AND REBECCA

>Friday evening, Oct. 5, thru Sunday, Oct. 7 pm: FINDING YOUR VISION WORKSHOP @ THE DAHL, Rapid City, South Dakota. Discount for members of the Dahl Arts Center.

Sunday, Oct. 21st through Sat., Oct. 27th, 2012: PROJECT WORKSHOP 2012 @ CAPTION GALLERY, DUMBO, BROOKLYN.  A small intimate workshop where participants spend a week editing and sequencing a long-term project, working on the text for it, and working with a designer on a cover. There will also be presentations about bookmaking including one by a photo book editor or publisher.  Former students are invited to apply, but other photographers will be considered as well.  This small workshop is almost full, so please contact Rebecca as soon as possible if you are interested: rebeccanorriswebb@yahoo.com.

ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR ALEX AND REBECCA:

Alex’s interview with Geoff Dyer at the LOOK3 Photography Festival featured on The New York Times Magazine’s blog, THE SIXTH FLOOR.
Alex’s recent work on Treece, a toxic U.S. town, in The New York Times Magazine.
Alex’s interview with Alessia Glaviano for Italian Vogue

See Alex and Rebecca’s photos and others from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here

See Rebecca’s My Dakota in progress at Radius Books

Q&A with Rebecca and Sarah Rhodes on Timemachine

To read the Robert Klein Gallery Tripod Blog Q&A with Rebecca.

Read more about Magnum’s House of Pictures project in the New Yorker and see Alex’s photo of the day, April 24th.

Alex’s “The Suffering of Light” exhibition at Forma, Milan, featured in Italian Vogue.

WEATHER group show at Ricco/Maresca Gallery, June 21-Aug. 17, 2012

TRIPOD BLOG: On Loss and the Repeated Image

May 9, 2012

©Alex Webb, Rebecca in Havana Writing in the Mornings, January 2012

Tripod Blog: How do the arts impact your art?

RNW: Literature –– especially poetry –– has long been a major influence on my work and on my life.  Alex and I were both literature majors in college, so besides our large collection of photography books, we have an equally large collection of novels, essays, and poetry books.

For instance, while working on My Dakota, which is an elegy for one of my brothers, I turned to poetry books for solace, not to my vast collection of photography books.  During those first difficult months, some of the only poems that spoke to me were villanelles, such as Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” or Roethke’s “The Waking,” a poetic form whose two refrains are repeated four times each.

Each time a refrain is repeated –– such as Roethke’s haunting line, “I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow” –– the meaning shifts, sometimes questioning the original meaning, sometime meandering off, sometimes circling back.

So in part, it was because those villanelles spoke to me when I was most grief struck that I managed to uncover the book’s organic rhythm and sequence, whose repeated photographic and text images–– such as apples and swallows’ nests and waves –– echo the confused, meandering path of my own grief.

To read the rest of the Tripod Blog Q&A with Rebecca.

©Rebecca Norris Webb, “Flower Girl,” from “Memory City” (a collaborative work-in-progress with Alex Webb)

UPCOMING EVENTS: MAY & JUNE

NEW YORK

––THURSDAY, MAY 24, NEW YORK, NY: My Dakota book launch at ICP, May 24″ href=”http://www.icp.org/events/2012/may/24/book-signing-rebecca-webb-norriss-my-dakota” target=”_blank”>My Dakota book launch, party and book signing at ICP (43d and Sixth Ave), 6-7:30.

RAPID CITY, SD

––FRIDAY, JUNE 1, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA: “My Dakota” exhibition opening and book party, Dahl Arts Center, 6-8pm.  The exhibition will run until October 13, 2012.

––CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA

SATURDAY, JUNE 9,  AT LOOK3 PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL

4-6pm Alex Webb in conversation with noted writer and cultural critic Geoff Dyer

6-7pm: Book signing with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb at the Second Street Gallery

9pm: “My Dakota” in the WORKS slide show

ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR ALEX AND REBECCA:

See Alex and Rebecca’s photos and others from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here

See Rebecca’s My Dakota in progress at Radius Books

Q&A with Rebecca and Sarah Rhodes on Timemachine

Read more about Magnum’s House of Pictures project in the New Yorker and see Alex’s photo of the day, April 24th.

Alex’s “The Suffering of Light” exhibition at Forma, Milan, featured in Italian Vogue.

©Alex Webb, from “Memory City” (a collaborative work-in-progress with Rebecca Norris Webb)

MEMORY CITY: A Thank You

April 29, 2012

©Alex Webb, Installation of work-in-progress of "Memory City" (by Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb) at the "House of Pictures" works-in-progress reception at the Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY, Saturday evening, April 28th, 2012

Rebecca and I would like to thank everyone who’s been following our making of “Memory City,” which we now think –– with the addition of one or two more trips to Rochester –– may one day be a small book.  We are hoping to make our second trip this July.

As many of you already know, “Memory City” is connected to a larger Magnum project in Rochester called “House of Pictures,” so we’d like to give a special thanks to my Magnum colleagues who participated in the “House of Pictures” –– Alec Soth, Larry Towell, Susan Meiselas, Paolo Pellegrin, Bruce Gilden, Donovan Wylie, Jim Goldberg, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Chien-Chi Chang, and Martin Parr.

Additionally, we couldn’t have made it this far in our creative journey without the help of a whole community of people: the Visual Studies Workshop, the George Eastman House Museum especially photography curator Alison Nordstrom, Rick Hock and Claire Wearn, the master printer Ed Praus,  the Magnum Photos staff, the photography department at RIT with a special thanks to the photographer Willie Osterman and our invaluable, tireless and enthusiastic production team ––RIT students Madison McKenna, Amanda Webster, Christian Whitworth, and Brenda Bingham –– and, lastly, and perhaps most importantly, all the people of Rochester who were gracious enough to invite us into their homes and into their lives.––Alex Webb


UPCOMING EVENTS: APRIL, MAY & JUNE

MILAN AND BOLOGNA

––FRIDAY, MAY 4, MILAN, ITALY: “Together and Apart: Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb,” at Forma, which will simultaneously have Alex’s The Suffering of Light exhibition in the gallery (Slide talk by invitation only, but former students, friends, member of the Two Looks online community, and press are welcome.  Space is limited, so please contact Alex and Rebecca to reserve one of the limited seats: webbnorriswebb@gmail.com)

––SATURDAY, MAY 5TH, MILAN, ITALY:  Two book launches, featuring the work of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb at the MIA photography festival, 8 pm

––MONDAY, MAY 7, BOLOGNA, ITALY: “Together & Apart: Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb. 5 pm

NEW YORK

––THURSDAY, MAY 24, NEW YORK, NY: My Dakota book launch at ICP, May 24″ href=”http://www.icp.org/events/2012/may/24/book-signing-rebecca-webb-norriss-my-dakota” target=”_blank”>My Dakota book launch, party and book signing at ICP (43d and Sixth Ave), 6-7:30.

RAPID CITY, SD

––FRIDAY, JUNE 1, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA: “My Dakota” exhibition opening and book party, Dahl Arts Center, 6-8pm.  The exhibition will run until October 13, 2012.

––CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA

SATURDAY, JUNE 9,  AT LOOK3 PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL

4-6pm Alex Webb in conversation with noted writer and cultural critic Geoff Dyer

6-7pm: Book signing with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb at the Second Street Gallery

9pm: “My Dakota” in the WORKS slide show

ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR ALEX AND REBECCA:

See Alex and Rebecca’s photos and others from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here.

Read more about Magnum’s House of Pictures project in the New Yorker and see Alex’s photo of the day, April 24th.

Alex’s “The Suffering of Light” exhibition at Forma, Milan, featured in Italian Vogue.


MEMORY CITY: Exposures 9 and 10

April 26, 2012

©Alex Webb, "Mt. Hope Cemetery in the Rain," photographed with Kodachrome and processed as black and white, Rochester, 2012, from Memory City: Rochester in 36 Exposures (with Rebecca Norris Webb) 

Memory is “an old flautist,

[who] plays in the rain . . . ” 

––Ilya Kaminsky from his award-winning poetry book, Dancing in Odessa

Last weekend, Alex photographed a very rainy Mt. Hope Cemetery (above), where the poet Ilya Kaminsky’s father, Victor, was buried in 1994, one year after the then 16-year-old Ilya and his family moved to Rochester from Odessa after being granted political asylum.  The young poet’s response to his father’s unexpected death was to switch from writing poetry in Russian to English, an especially challenging decision considering Ilya had been deaf since four.  Looking back, the now noted poet said one reason he made the decision was because it was a way for both he and his father to learn the language of their new country.—Rebecca Noris Webb

At St. Monica’s Catholic Church on a rainy Sunday (below), Rebecca was in the back of the church photographing a first communion dress during the service when she smelled a fire in the church’s kitchen.  She alerted the congregation, which was soon evacuated.  After the fire trucks left and the windows thrown open to air out the smoke, Father Ray publicly thanked Rebecca at the service  for helping to save the historic church, which is located in Rochester’s 19th Ward. It’s not always that the presence of a photographer helps in such a direct way…––Alex Webb

©Rebecca Norris Webb, "After the Fire at St. Monica’s Church," Rochester, 2012, from Memory City: Rochester in 36 Exposures (with Alex Webb)

LINKS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

All this month, follow Alex and Rebecca and other from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here.

“Together and Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb,” Thursday, April 26th, @ 8pm, Webb Auditorium, RIT, Rochester, NY

Read more about Magnum’s House of Pictures project in the New Yorker and see Alex’s photo of the day, April 24th.

Alex and Rebecca in Milan May 4-7 for “The Suffering of Light” exhibition and workshop.

MY DAKOTA book launch, book signing, and celebration, ICP, New York, Thursday, May 24th, 6-7:30 pm

MEMORY CITY: Exposures 7 and 8

April 25, 2012

Rebecca Norris Webb from "Memory City: Rochester in 36 Exposures" (with Alex Webb)

––7––

This contact sheet was printed by Ed Praus, one of a dying breed of master printers who’s worked in Rochester, NY,  –– home of Eastman Kodak and RIT ––for more than 25 years…

I guess I identify with dying breeds, being one of those photographers who hasn’t yet made the switch to digital.  There’s something about the tactile quality of working with film that I love.  (You can even see it in the words surrounding the process, beginning with the word, “film” itself, which also means “a thin covering or coating” –– and with the word, “contact.”)  Even if I’ve never liked changing film in the rain, not to mention Rochester’s late spring snow.

Yet, what I do like about working with film, unlike working digitally, is that something tangible is left behind –– a piece of film that occupied the same place and time and perhaps bad weather as the photographer.  Even if film is nothing more than the flimsiest of materials.  Like those silk or taffeta or organza dresses at the back of a woman’s closet, film has accompanied us to dance after dance, wedding after wedding, anniversary after anniversary, funeral after funeral.  No matter the weather.—Rebecca Norris Webb

Alex Webb, Rochester, 2012, from "Memory City" (with Rebecca Norris Webb)

––8––

LINKS & EVENTS

All this month, follow Alex and Rebecca and other from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here.

“Together and Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb,” Thursday, April 26th, @ 8pm, Webb Auditorium, RIT, Rochester, NY

Read more about Magnum’s House of Pictures project in the New Yorker and see Alex’s photo of the day, April 24th.

MY DAKOTA book launch, book signing, and celebration, ICP, New York, Thursday, May 24th, 6-7:30 pm

MEMORY CITY: Exposures 4 and 5

April 23, 2012

©Rebecca Norris Webb, "Marianne's Consignments," Rochester, 2012, from "Memory City" (with Alex Webb)

This morning –– taking a break from photographing in a Rochester spring snow storm –– Alex and I decided to make our first pairing of the project.  (Even on a relatively clear afternoon in Rochester –– the City of Epic Weather –– you can see evidence of wind in these two photographs…)

Alex has just left to photograph the Godowsky house –– where one of the inventors of Kodachrome lived in the 1930′s with his wife, the singer and painter, Frances Gershwin, whose noted brothers, Ira and George, often played for –– and with ––the couple (Godowsky was also an accomplished violinist).

Anyway, Alex will be photographing the historic house with one of those last rolls of Kodachrome –– which will later be processed as black and white by one of Rochester’s last master printers, Ed Praus, another artist in his own right.––Rebecca Norris Webb

©Alex Webb, Rochester, 2012, from "Memory City" (with Rebecca Norris Webb)

LINKS & EVENTS

All this month, follow Alex and Rebecca and other from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here.

“Together and Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb,” Thursday, April 26th, @ 8pm, Webb Auditorium, RIT, Rochester, NY

MY DAKOTA book launch, book signing, and celebration, ICP, New York, Thursday, May 24th, 6-7:30 pm

MEMORY CITY: Exposure 2

April 21, 2012

from "Memory City: Rochester in 36 Exposures" by Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb

––2 ––

One of my first memories involved a photograph.  The photographer was a blur of uncomfortably bright lights, a stranger’s voice insisting that I fold my hands exactly like my father’s hands.

My only defense was to gaze down into the folds of my new dress, and hide  –– all those varying hues of gray and blue and black, like a stormy, unsettled sky.

How much of this is my memory?  How much of this is my memory of the photograph?  I wonder about this from time to time since one of my brothers died.––Rebecca Norris Webb

LINKS & EVENTS

All this month, follow Alex and Rebecca and other from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here.

“Together and Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb,” Thursday, April 26th, @ 8pm, Webb Auditorium, RIT, Rochester, NY

MY DAKOTA book launch, book signing, and celebration, ICP, New York, Thursday, May 24th, 6-7:30 pm

MEMORY CITY: Exposure 1

April 20, 2012

Alex Webb, Rochester, 2006, from "Memory City: Rochester in 36 Exposures"

––1 ––

In Rochester in 2006, I took this photograph using Kodachrome, a film Kodak decided to discontinue three years later.

It’s hard for me to believe that the film I used for more than 30 years can now only be processed as black and white.

Kodachrome ….from rich, vibrant color to deep blacks and white, like a fading memory…––Alex Webb

LINKS & EVENTS

All this month, follow Alex and Rebecca and other from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here.

“Together and Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb,” Thursday, April 26th, @ 8pm, Webb Auditorium, RIT, Rochester, NY

MY DAKOTA book launch, book signing, and celebration, ICP, New York, Thursday, May 24th, 6-7:30 pm

Notes on “The Suffering of Light” @ Time.com

May 16, 2011

Alex Webb, "Erie, Pennsylvania, 2010," from "The Suffering of Light"

Perhaps it’s the poet in me, but I love the irony of being able to hold in my hands a series of intangible moments — and Alex’s new book of 30 years of color work is no exception.  

To see a slide show of images  – including the one above from Erie, Pennsylvania, which was the last photograph Alex took for THE SUFFERING OF LIGHT during a road trip with me driving from New York to South Dakota last summer, and, appropriately, the last photograph in the book — and to read Alex’s notes on the bookmaking process, please follow this link to TIME.COM, where you can also leave your comments.

In addition, here’s a link to an excerpt of the Geoff Dyer essay about Alex in the book, an excerpt recently posted on the GUARDIAN website.

For those in the New York area, please join us for the book launch of THE SUFFERING OF LIGHT at Aperture Foundation, 547 W. 27th on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1st at 6:30pm, which will include a conversation with noted critic Max Kozloff as well as a book signing. Alex and I hope to see many of you there.–Rebecca Norris Webb


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