Archive for October, 2017

SLANT RHYMES: News and Reviews

October 17, 2017

PDN NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017: “Can we read this conversation the way we might read a collection of letters between two writers or two lovers? [Alex] Webb says they like to think of their slant rhymes as ‘a kind of long, elliptical, unfinished love poem,’ which recalls something that Rebecca Solnit wrote in her book A Field Guide to Getting Lost: ‘A relationship is a story you construct together and take up residence in, a story as sheltering as a house.” Slant Rhymes is such a story, about love between two artists and how their relationship is influenced by their work as photographers.”Conor Risch from PDN Notable Books of 2017.

IN NEW PHOTO BOOKS: A STRONG SENSE OF PLACE: Hyperallergic: “Rebecca told me, ‘Sometimes we work in the same place; other times we’re worlds apart. So we wanted Slant Rhymes to echo this creative rhythm of photographing together and apart, and that’s why you’ll see pairs of our photos from Havana, Istanbul, and Brooklyn, as well as pairs of photos made when we were on opposite sides of the globe, including the winter Alex photographed the Kumbh Mela festival in India, the largest gathering of human beings on the planet, while I photographed in the desolate, snowy South Dakota Badlands, where often I was the only person for miles.'”—Edward M. Gomez, Hyperallergic

POETRY AND THE PHOTO: Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb’s Slant Rhymes: Bomb Magazine As a braided autobiography, Slant Rhymes is at once a well-curated retrospective of two celebrated photographers’ work and a cross-disciplinary meld in the spirit of a notebook or daybook. The resulting combinations of effects escape definitive classification and remain torn off in a realm where poems and photographs live, both married to their beholders and wild beyond any possible grasp.”—Michael Juliani from Bomb Magazine. You can read the rest of the review here.

THE RHYMING PHOTOGRAPHS OF REBECCA NORRIS WEBB AND ALEX WEBB: Paris Review“In Slant Rhymes, published in August, photographers Rebecca Norris Webb and Alex Webb paired eighty images taken over the course of their nearly thirty-year relationship. The photographs appear side by side—one of Alex’s, one of Rebecca’s—to create “a series of visual rhymes that talk to one another—often at a ‘slant’ and in intriguing and revealing ways.” —Paris Review

“Sometimes, the pairs of photographs are only riveted together by similar notes of color, like the red vinyl of a car seat and the red comb and wattles of a chicken. Often, the correspondences reside in geometry: the wings of a bird on a fresco and the splayed hands of a little girl holding on to the cathedral’s grating. Other juxtapositions form nascent montages. Meanings slither off the edges of pictures and braid. Two moments, not connected in time or place, hint at simultaneity. Together, cutting across maps and calendars, they unite into a testimony of journeys, partings and returns. ‘A gift, this distance we’ve traveled so far,’ writes Rebecca in one of her poems. The gift of that distance arrives to us as exhilaration.”— Lev Feigin, from the review of Slant Rhymes on Lensculture. 

In the intimate introduction by Alex and in delicately interspersed poetry and lyrical prose by both, we can sense a true melding of spirits. Their images, too, bend to one another, in what the Webbs offer is ‘a kind of long, elliptical, unfinished love poem.’—Elin Spring and Suzanne Revy, from “In Harmony” book reviews on the blog “What Will You Remember?” featuring the books Slant Rhymes, Blind Spot (Teju Cole),  27 Contexts (Mark Alice Durant), and You an Orchestra, You a Bomb (Cig Harvey). You can read the rest of this quartet of reviews here.

“I particularly appreciate the special poetic sensibility that Rebecca brings to our collaborations, not only with her photography and writing, but also with her bookmaking, in which she often structures books as if they were visual poems.”—Alex Webb, from Magnum Photos interview (link below).

 “Alex brings the sheer virtuosity and soulfulness of his seeing, and, as a collaborator, the questioning nature and generosity of his being.—Rebecca Norris Webb, from Magnum Photos interview.



Spread from “Slant Rhymes” (L: Alex Webb, Arcahaie, Haiti; R: Rebecca Norris Webb, Stained Glass), published by La Fabrica, Madrid

“There’s a slow burn in the book that delights me: amber yellows that, on a first look, hint at trees trapped inside, then a cloud, then a hemisphere; or greens so soft you don’t recognize, at first, how much catastrophe they actually bear. ‘Truth must dazzle gradually,’ says Dickinson’s poem. This book has exactly that feel.”—Collier Brown, from his book review of Slant Rhymes on Photo-Eye. 

“The nature of collaboration is a delicate act. Two bodies must learn to gently orbit one another. Too close and the crash is catastrophic. Too far and the tether between them separates and the two drift off into the void. Perhaps one of the most successful photographic collaborations of recent years also happens to be one that acts as a celebration of loving union.”—Oliver Atwell, from “Creative Collaboration: Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb” on the UK’s Amateur Photographer.

“We both embrace a kind of surrealism, although seemingly in two different keys: Rebecca’s more in the spirit of Bach’s D Minor Partita that she so loves, mine more in the spirit of the blues, as in Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign.”—Alex Webb, from “A Marriage of Lives of Photographs,” a Q&A with Jim Estrin on the New York Times Lens Blog with Rebecca the new joint book, Slant Rhymes, released this week in the US and Canada from La Fabrica.




—September 8, 2017-March 4, 2018, Los Angeles: CUBA IS: joint Cuba show at the Annenberg Space for Photography, LA, along with work by Alex Webb, Rebecca Norris Webb, Elliott Erwitt, Leysis Quesada, Raúl Cañibano, Michael Christopher Brown, and others.  The Webbs will give a free joint slide talk, “On Cuba and Collaboration” at the Annenberg Space for Photography on Thursday, January 25, 2018, from 6:30-8pm.