MEMORY CITY: Exposures 9 and 10

©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)


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

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