POSTINGS: December 2009

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

Alex Webb, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, 1976


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


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.

Garry Winogrand, from the book, The Animals

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


Rebecca Norris Webb, from the series, On Extended Wings

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?

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7 Responses to “POSTINGS: December 2009”

  1. Video: Trent Parke and Narelle Autio | dvafoto Says:

    […] Two Looks) This was written by M. Scott Brauer. Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009, at 5:45 am. Filed […]

  2. German Romero M Says:

    Hi Rebecca & Alex,
    Nice to read you around.

    • webbnorriswebb Says:

      Hi German,

      Nice to hear from you, too. Happy Holidays.

      If you’d like, please email us an jpeg of a recent image of yours for our blog’s New Year’s column on Dec. 28th (6 inches across; 72 dpi). And include a link to your website if you have one. We’d love to include an image of yours.

      Alex and Rebecca

  3. B. Wyrebek Says:

    It is always a moment of deja vu whenever I come across a poem written by my much loved sister Michele Wyrebek. Some people say that dying is passing. Passing what? My sister remains with me and her other siblings in our hearts and prayers but most vividly with her fellow poets and writers who keep her with us in mentioning her work and exemplifying her unique poems. You help us know that her life had meaning to others as well. Thank you

    • webbnorriswebb Says:

      Thanks so much for your note, Bill. Your sister lives on each time someone reads — or is reminded of — her amazing work. In fact, I thought of her recently in South Dakota, my home state, where I saw a burrowing owl for the first time near a friend’s home. I was there working on a photographic elegy for my brother, Dave, who died unexpectedly, a book called “My Dakota,” which is my way of carrying my brother in my heart always…

      Rebecca Norris Webb

    • Mitch Says:

      Don’t know if anyone will see this. I was in a narrative writing class with Michele at Vassar thirty years ago. A book club I belong to will be looking at poetry this month. Each of us needs to bring in one poem. I thought of Michele and a poem I came across by chance (in 1987 or 1988) in a literary mag called Pulpsmith called The Pool at Knowlton. Just this morning I looked through my old files and sure enough, I’d kept it all these years. I look forward to sharing it with my club. I didn’t know Michele all that well but I feel privileged to have done so. She was a lovely person and her words continue to move me.

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