TRIPOD BLOG: On Loss and the Repeated Image

©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)



––THURSDAY, MAY 24, NEW YORK, NY: My Dakota book launch at ICP, May 24″ href=”” target=”_blank”>My Dakota book launch, party and book signing at ICP (43d and Sixth Ave), 6-7:30.


––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.



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


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)

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