©Rebecca Norris Webb, “Amanda and Her Flower Girl Dress,” from “Memory City” (with Alex Webb), Radius Books/Thames&Hudson, June 2014
“For their project Memory City, photographers Rebecca Norris Webb and her husband Alex Webb traveled to Rochester, New York—the home of Eastman Kodak for 125 years—to document the city in the wake of the company’s bankruptcy in 2012 and to pay tribute to their respective relationships to analog imagery.
Both photographers used Kodak film for this project. Her husband shot with Kodachrome, his sole medium for more than 30 years; its once-vibrant color can now be processed only with black-and-white chemistry, giving it a distressed look he likens to fading memories. Norris Webb, who still uses film for all her work, used Portra, inspired by an analogy of the medium as a woman’s special-occasion outfit—memorable, but fleeting, worn only once. ‘I think it’s the tactile quality that I’ll miss most when I have to eventually switch to digital,” she says. “That slip of celluloid that’s accompanied me to every moment I’ve ever photographed, like a delicate yet indelible dress.’
Norris Webb’s portraits of Rochester women include the image shown here, of the Webbs’ former assistant, Amanda Webster. She and her family reflect the city’s past and present in photography: Her father and grandfather both worked for Kodak, and Amanda is currently studying photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Norris Webb photographed her in her grandmother’s house in the 14621 neighbohood—known by its zip code, it’s one of the most ethnically diverse in the city—in the spring of 2012, holding a dress she had worn to an uncle’s wedding.”—Jill C. Shomer, American Photo Magazine, May-June 2014 issue
LINK TO AMERICAN PHOTO MAGAZINE MAY/JUNE 2014:
ALEX AND REBECCA’S UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
—FIRST WEBB WORKSHOP IN POLAND JUST ANNOUNCED. This four-day MAGNUM PHOTOS WORKSHOP will coincide with the FOTOFESTIWAL LODZ in early June. Space is limited, and this workshop is expected to sell out rather quickly:
—NEW WORKSHOP ADDED: FINDING YOUR VISION: SAN FRANCISCO, SAT. AUG. 23 THRU WED. AUG. 27, 2014, Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission Street, San Francisco: For more information, please contact Alex and Rebecca:
——Saturday May 3 thru Friday May 10, FINDING YOUR VISION, NEW YORK.
——DUE TO A CANCELLATION, THERE’S NOW ONE SPOT left in this annual May workshop. To apply, please contact Alex and Rebecca directly at this email:
LINKS, REVIEWS, ARTICLES, AND MORE:
——Link to NEW YORK TIMES LENS blog Q&A with Jim Estrin & Alex and Mound Bayou slide show:
——ALEX’S PHOTOGRAPHS FROM INDIA’S KUMBH MELA IN FEBRUARY 2014 ISSUE:
“Rochester, in upstate New York, has been the home of Kodak since the company’s start in 1888. When it declared bankruptcy in 2012, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb decided to use film made by the company to shoot the city. For the project, Webb used his last rolls of Kodachrome, the famous but now-discontinued film, developing it as hazy black and white since its special color process is no longer available. The results look like any struggling but hopeful city, quiet but proud.”—Rebecca Robertson, ART News