This month we’re featuring TWO PUBLICATIONS, one that features a series of Alex’s early black-and-white photography, TWO LINKS, including a video that explores the lives and work of Australian photographers Trent Parke and Narelle Autio, who we featured in last month’s TWO LOOKS column, and, lastly, TWO VIEWS of a creature of the night.––Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb
TWO PUBLICATIONS: ALEX’S EARLY WORK and NEW MAGAZINE
Since 1979, I have photographed almost entirely in color. However, prior to that, I was totally committed to working in black-and-white. This month, a literary journal, the Threepenny Review, has a selection of some of my black-and-white work, ranging from an early series on teenagers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that I produced in 1972 and 1973, while I was in college, to work from my first trips to Haiti (1975), the Mississippi Delta (1976-77), and the U.S.-Mexico Border (1975 and 1978). It also happens to be the Threepenny Review’s thirtieth anniversary issue, so congratulations to Wendy Lesser, the review’s founder.
Since a number of our workshop participants are street photographers, we thought we would also mention there’s a new biannual periodical featuring street photography, called Publication, which is published by the In-Public street photographer Nick Turpin and which is now accepting online submissions. –– Alex Webb
TWO LINKS: TRENT AND NARELLE VIDEO; ICP SERIES
Since we featured Trent Parke and Narelle Autio in our last Two Looks posting (November 23, 2009), we thought we’d link you to this video, called Dreamlives 2002, that explores their work –– including both their photojournalism assignments and their more personal projects –– as well as their relationship.
The International Center of Photography also has links to videos of talks by noted photographers, but I was especially intrigued with their audio programs, including the link below to a talk by the late great street photographer Garry Winogrand, author of The Animals, an inspiration for Rebecca’s first book, The Glass Between Us.––Alex Webb
TWO VIEWS: CREATURE OF THE NIGHT
I’d like to leave you with TWO VIEWS of the owl, a creature long associated with the night and wisdom and death. Appropriately, I’ve included a poem by the late M. Wyrebek, a poet who spent most of her short life battling cancer, and perhaps because of that struggle, her poetry is unflinching and courageous, open to both suffering and mystery. Her poignant poem, Night Owl, below, from her award-winning book, Be Properly Scared, relates an encounter she had while driving home through the countryside late one night after receiving troubling news about her cancer. “It’s as if a night owl becomes her Virgilian guide into the vast night,” wrote her friend and fellow poet, Edward Hirsch.
I’ve paired Night Owl with a recent unpublished photograph of mine (above), which I took in Morocco in October. It’s part of my new series, On Extended Wings, inspired in part by this quote by the poet Li-Young Lee: “Only birds can reveal to us dying by flying.”––Rebecca Norris Webb
Driving my bad news the back way home
I know I’m in the land that is life
when I reach my favorite stretch of road –– fields
flat and wide where corn appears soon after
planting the soil tilled, night-soaked
and crumbled into fists.
Ferguson’s barn is somewhere
at the end of this long arm of tar
and as I near it, something grazes the back
passenger-side door, luffs parallel to my car ––
a huge owl on headlight spray floating,
holding night over the hood to see
if this moving think is real, alive,
something to kill –– then gliding in
close as if to taste glass.
The road levitates, buffeted on a surf
of light, the fog-eaten farm disappearing
as I ride into starlessness, cells conspiring
so I am bright-flecked and uplifted –– is this
what it feels like to be chosen –– to be taken
under the wing of something vast
that knows its way blindly?
Tags: Be Properly Scared, black-and-white Alex Webb, early work Alex Webb, Edward Hirsch, Garry Winogrand, Haiti, ICP, In-Public, M. Wyrebek, Mississippi, Mississippi delta, Mound Bayou, Narelle Autio, Nick Turpin, Night Owl, On Extended Wings, Publication, Street Photography, The Animals, The Glass Between Us, Threepenny Review, Trent Parke, U.S.-Mexico border