Posts Tagged ‘Books’

VIOLET ISLE: In the New Yorker

December 29, 2009
This week’s New Yorker includes a review of the Violet Isle show at Ricco Maresca Gallery, whose last day is Saturday, Jan. 2nd.
Violet Isle at Ricco Maresca Gallery
from The New Yorker:

ALEX WEBB AND REBECCA NORRIS WEBB

This married couple shows color photographs from several trips to Cuba that emphasize the easy compatibility of their distinct visual styles. Alex usually takes a broad view of streetscapes complicated by shadows, reflections, and arrested movement; he has a filmmaker’s ability to find the skewed but perfect balance in a scene that threatens to spin out of control. Rebecca tends to focus on details, framing intriguing still-lifes and capturing marvellous shots of birds, including a pigeon that appears to be flying away from a freshly laid egg. Both Webbs use color like the Fauves—in hot, vibrant swatches and pungent accents. The results are the opposite of tourist views: pictures that are generated and animated by their subjects, never imposed on them. Through Jan. 2. (Ricco/Maresca, 529 W. 20th St. 212-627-4819.)

TWO EVENTS: Violet Isle

November 2, 2009

Webb_eblast

BURN MAGAZINE: Rebecca’s Response

October 18, 2009

Here’s an excerpt from Rebecca’s response today on Burn Magazine to a comment by photographer Brian Frank. To read all the comments ––and the Q&A with Alex and Rebecca conducted by David Alan Harvey –– visit:

http://www.burnmagazine.org/

BRIAN FRANK: I would love to hear some of the processes you went through to edit, organize and then find a publisher for the book. I think that could be a wonderful topic of discussion for many people here [on Burn Magazine].

REBECCA NORRIS WEBB: Alex and I strongly believe in what we often call “intuitive editing,” in which we try to use the same eye that photographs in a spontaneous and intuitive way as the eye that edits one’s own work intuitively.

For Violet Isle, we didn’t see this as a collaborative project until the spring of last year.  It just so happens, soon after we made this decision, we were scheduled to teach a workshop in Peru, and started working on the edit each afternoon of the workshop when the participants were out photographing.  We started the edit the way we always do when editing each other’s work –– spreading out the photographs (on the floor, on a wall, or on a table) –– and then starting to “play” with them, making relationships with images until they begin to talk to each other formally, poetically, thematically.  We discovered during this Peru workshop that this was an ideal task to complement teaching, since teaching often leaves us quite exhausted, emotionally and creatively, and we often find it difficult to photograph our own projects after spending hours each day talking and looking at other people’s work.  But, as we found out in Peru, during a workshop we also happen to be in the perfect mindset to edit our own work.  In addition, it’s helpful to edit a book away from New York and our hectic schedule and our studio, and those day-to-day details that eat up so much time in a photographer’s life.  Anyway, at the end of the workshop, Alex and I showed the participants our first sequence of what ultimately became Violet Isle, and their comments were extremely helpful.  We finished editing the book in two other workshops –– one in Cadiz, Spain, the other in Venice, Italy.

As far as trying to find a publisher for this rather unusual joint book, we first approached a large, rather traditional art and photography book publisher.  Although there was strong initial interest in Violet Isle, it became clear the project was too off-beat for such a mainstream publisher.  We’d heard about a creative, new small publisher Radius Books –– and had met Darius Himes, one of the publishers –– who’d shown us a beautifully printed book they’d done of Mark Klett’s photographs.  So Alex and I decided to show our Violet Isle book dummy to Darius and the other Radius publishers. Interestingly, the very quality of the work that the larger, more traditional publisher saw as a weakness or detriment –– Violet Isle’s uniqueness –– was the same quality that Radius saw as one of the book’s strengths.

INTERVIEW: David Alan Harvey’s 7 Questions

October 16, 2009

This is an excerpt from today’s interview with us conducted by David Alan Harvey of Burn Magazine: http://www.burnmagazine.org/

DAH: Both of you have heretofore been solo artists. What sacrifices did you make and/or what benefits are there to a collaboration?

AW: From my perspective, the sacrifices were not great. Early on working in Cuba, I envisioned doing my own book, but I also wanted to do something different  –– something unlike any of my past books, as well as something different from any of the many past photographic books on Cuba. When Rebecca and I hit upon the notion of combining our work, this resolved these concerns of mine. I also found it very exciting to weave our two different bodies of work together to create a different kind of portrait of the island. In fact, I am more excited about this book than any other book of mine since Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds, my first book, which came out in 1986.

RNW:  I was initially concerned that my fascination with Cuba was taking valuable time away from a project that I had always thought would be my second book, My Dakota, a project that had started out as an exploration of my relationship with the West––and specifically my home state of South Dakota––and ended up also becoming an elegy for my brother, Dave.  Now, I realize that bringing out the Cuba book before My Dakota was the right decision.  I needed more time and distance from my brother’s death to absorb and distill and let go of My Dakota.

And, David, you also asked about the benefits of doing Violet Isle with Alex….  Well, for one thing, it’s awfully nice having only half as many interview questions to answer.

Next Monday, our blog posting will be: “TWO LOOKS: Charles Harbutt and Joan Liftin”

POSTINGS: October 2009

October 12, 2009

This month we’re featuring two unpublished photos (one of Alex’s, one of Rebecca’s), two links (about Robert Frank and his NYC exhibition), two news items (including a review and a photography grant deadline), two views (a poet and a photographer respond to a shared struggle),  two farewells, and, lastly, two arts (a song inspired by a photograph). ––Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

TWO PHOTOS: Unpublished

Alex Webb, Marrekech, October, 2009

Alex Webb, Marrekech, October, 2009

Rebecca Norris Webb, Wind Cave, August 2009

Rebecca Norris Webb, Wind Cave, August 2009

TWO LINKS: On Robert Frank

One of the first books of street photography that inspired me as a young photographer was Robert Frank’s The Americans.  It’s great to see that the Metropolitan Museum in New York is now exhibiting prints of the entirety of this remarkable book.––Alex Webb



The interview: Robert Frank and Met curator Jeff Rosenheim:

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2009/09/29/segments/141587

The exhibition: “Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans”:

http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId=%7B1FD57D4D-FE17-41FA-9025-E2667E36AD27%7D

TWO NEWS ITEMS: A photography grant deadline and a review:

Grant deadline/new book: From Sara Terry, photographer, and founder and director of the Aftermath Project: We’ve just come out with our second publication, “War is Only Half the Story, Vol Two,” featuring the stunning work of our 2008 grant winner Kathryn Cook (“Memory Denied: Turkey and the Armenian Genocide”) and finalists Natala Grigalashvili, Tinka Dietz, Christine Fenzl and Pep Bonet. In addition, we are now accepting applications for our fourth year of granting (2010); we’ll be giving out two grants, for $20,000 each. The application deadline is Nov 2nd — you can download the application on our website. “Vol Two” can be purchased online, for $20 plus $4 shipping/handling in the US or $15 airmail shipping/handling to any overseas address.  All proceeds will go to help support our activities; we operate on a shoestring, so purchases are a great way to help keep the Aftermath Project going — and to get a great book at the same time:  http://www.theaftermathproject.org/book.htm

Rebecca Norris Webb, Warsaw, 2005

Rebecca Norris Webb, Warsaw, 2005

Review: And below, here’s a link to a wonderful review of a Blue Earth Alliance exhibition at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Napa that features some of Rebecca’s work.  The article includes the story behind Rebecca’s photograph above, the last image she took for her book, The Glass Between Us.––Alex Webb

http://www.napavalleyregister.com/articles/2009/10/08/arts/doc4acc0bd13c7b0673682208.txt

TWO VIEWS: A Poet’s and a Photographer’s Response to a Shared Struggle

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Alex and I wanted to feature two women we know and admire, two women who have not only battled breast cancer, but courageously and honestly and insightfully shared their experiences with all of us (through one woman’s photography and another’s poetry), enriching our lives and our awareness about breast cancer.  The two women are the photographer, Alexandra Avakian, and the poet, Carolyn Forche.––Rebecca Norris Webb

NYT Lens: Alexandra Avakian : A Camera as Therapy (NYT: October 2009)

And here is Carolyn Forche’s reading her poem, “What Comes” last spring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUI–rsmy9k

Alex Webb, U.S.-Mexico border, 1975

Alex Webb, U.S.-Mexico border, 1975

TWO FAREWELLS: Marty Forscher and Irving Penn

In 1975, after photographing on the U.S.-Mexico border, I returned to New York with one of my Leica M-2’s filled with grit.  I asked around about what I should do and the answer was unanimous: Visit Marty Forscher’s Professional Camera Repair on W. 47th Street.  So I dropped off my Leica at Marty’s, and a week later I returned to be met with much laughter and a question:  “Where were you?  We found a bug living in your camera!”

That was the first of many visits to the legendary camera repair shop of Marty Forscher.  When I read his obit in The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/nyregion/11forscher.html), I felt a little saddened –– probably like photographers all over New York City –– to lose such a supporter, not only of cameras, but of photographers and photography as well. Yet, I couldn’t help but smile when I thought of my first trip to Marty’s nearly 35 years ago.––Alex Webb

Irving Penn, Fashion Photographer, Is Dead at 92 (NYT: October 6, 2009)

TWO ARTS: Music and Photography

Alex and I often talk about how sequencing photographs to create a book is a lot like composing music: a big book is a symphony; a little book, a sonata. So we thought you might be interested in taking a look at this process turned upside down: Here’s a video about how a photograph inspired the creation of a song.––Rebecca Norris Webb

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113659105


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