Archive for the ‘On Press’ Category

ON PRESS: My Dakota 7

March 13, 2012

©Alex Webb, "Dust Jacket of Rebecca's My Dakota"

ON PRESS: My Dakota 6

March 13, 2012

©Alex Webb, "Rebecca signing one of the My Dakota signatures"

On press, one of the biggest challenges was trying to capture the luminosity of Esteban Mauchi’s match prints. I kept thinking of  the wonderful quote by the poet Paul Valery: “One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather.”––Rebecca Norris Webb

On Press: My Dakota 3

March 12, 2012
David Chickey, "My Dakota cover signing"

David Chickey, "My Dakota: Signing the Jacket"

Nice that the first day of the press check in Singapore for Rebecca’s “My Dakota” book started with the dust jacket (see above).  Another bit of luck: Like with the press check for “Violet Isle,” we have the master pressman again, Simon (see below), who has managed to capture the luminosity of Rebecca’s elegiac prints.  So far, the press check is going well.––Alex Webb

©Alex Webb: On Press with Simon, David Chickey and Rebecca for "My Dakota"

©Alex Webb: On Press with Simon, David Chickey and Rebecca for "My Dakota"

©Alex Webb, "On Press with My Dakota: Crazy Horse photo"

On Press: My Dakota 2

March 10, 2012

Dr. Stork, 1915

As I am preparing emotionally and mentally to be on press tomorrow, I can’t help but think of the metaphor of childbirth with regards to bringing a new book into the world.  Perhaps it’s because I come from a long line of doctors –– my father is fifth generation doctor, my younger sister, sixth generation — but I don’t see myself as the mother, but as the midwife or the doctor, attending to the work, helping to deliver the work into the world,  Perhaps that’s also because this new book, as personal as it is for me, isn’t me.  It’s wiser than I am.  It’s more than I am.  It’s more important than I am.  

My task these next few days on press –– along with the book’s designer and Radius”s creative director, David Chickey, and Alex, who helped me sequence the photographs –– will be to try to deliver the work into the world, and to deliver it alive, as the poet Ezra Pound once said about poetry.  Isn’t that always the task:  To keep enough of the flaws and the contradictions and the cracks and the complexity and the tensions in a book, which are a book’s life’s blood?  Or perhaps I just like the irony of using the metaphor of childbirth in a book that deals with death…––Rebecca Norris Webb

Alex Webb, "Rebecca writing, 2012"

Alex Webb, "Rebecca writing, 2012"

ON PRESS: My Dakota

March 5, 2012

Alex Webb, third proofs of Rebecca's "My Dakota"

We’re leaving tomorrow, March 6th, for the press check of Rebecca’s upcoming “My Dakota” book in Singapore.  Today we’re looking at a set of third proofs for the book (above), and will confer with David Chickey –– the book’s designer and Radius Books’ creative director –– later this afternoon to collaborate on what corrections make the most sense at this point.  We may have one more round of pre-press work later this week, before we head to press early next week.  If all goes according to plan, we hope to blog on press next Monday and Tuesday (March 12th and 13).––Alex Webb


––FRIDAY, MARCH, 9th, 7-8:30: “Together and Apart: Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb,” National Museum of Singapore, Singapore.  National Museum of Singapore is a venue sponsor of this free public event.

––MONDAY & TUESDAY, MARCH 12 -13, 2012: BLOGGING ON PRESS FOR THE “MY DAKOTA” BOOK IN SINGAPORE (with Rebecca, author, Alex, editor, and David Chickey, designer and Radius creative director).  Check the blog for updates.  If you’d like to submit a question ahead of time about being on press, please email your question to Alex and Rebecca:

––FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 7-8:30 pm, “Together & Apart: Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb,” Aperture Foundation, 547 W. 27th St., 4th Floor, New York, NY.  Free Event.

––LAST WEEK IN MARCH: Alex Webb booksigning at AIPAD. Details to come soon.

Portrait of Alex and Rebecca in Havana by Cuban Photographer


“Teaching taught me how little I knew and it forced me to think.  I had to teach to get an education.” –––Harry Callahan, from “Harry Callahan @ 100” at the National Gallery of Art

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” ––Rumi

–WEEKEND WORKSHOP @ APERTURE, NY, Friday evening, March 23, thru Sat., March 25, 2012. Do you know where you’re going next with your photography –– or where it’s taking you?   An intensive weekend workshop with Alex and Rebecca. You can reserve a spot in the workshop at the Aperture Foundation website.  AS OF MARCH 5TH, THERE WERE ONLY TWO SPOTS LEFT IN THE WORKSHOP. Additionally, there is a discount for students and Aperture patrons, which you can arrange by emailing Anne Lewis at Aperture at this email:   

––WEEKEND WORKSHOP IN MILANO @ FORMA; Friday evening, May 4, thru Sunday, May 6th, 2012.  An intensive weekend workshop @ Forma with the Webbs during Alex’s upcoming spring exhibition there, “The Suffering of Light.” Included in the workshop will be a gallery talk by Alex as well as a copy of Alex’s recent survey book of 30 years of his color photographs, “La Sofferenza della Luce,” (Contrasto).  The workshop will be taught in English with Italian translation.  For more information here’s the link.

–FINDING YOUR VISION WORKSHOP @ CAPTION GALLERY, BROOKLYN, NY.  Sunday May 20 thru Friday May 25, 2012.* A week-long photographing and editing workshop where each photographers begins to explore his or her own way of photographing and how to edit intuitively.  Will include exercises, light room tutorials, and a presentation by a noted book editor. APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN.  Early acceptance notification will start early March.  Check the workshop page of the webbnorriswebb website for fees, application process and further details.  Apply to this email:

*If there is enough interest, we will explore offering a second session of the Finding Your Vision Workshop @ Caption Gallery the week before —  Sunday May 13 thru Friday May 18, 2012.

ON PRESS: Cover Stories 2; The Last Detour

January 15, 2011

Just finished with the cover — or at least as much as we can do at this point — since the orange cloth won’t be added until after we leave Hong Kong (you can see a mock up of the cover of the French edition in the top right-hand corner of the first photograph below).

Alex Webb, Hong Kong, 2011

So, we end as we began, with yet another detour.  We — and all of you — will have to wait another three to four weeks to see a photograph of the final cover, when the first bound copies of “The Suffering of Light” finally reach us back in Brooklyn.

Thanks for all your comments and questions and support during the birth of this most recent book. Rebecca and I are leaving you with one last quote below, which, of course, is about detours.—Alex Webb

“[One’s creative] work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence [one’s] heart first opened.” ––Albert Camus

Alex Webb, Self Portrait, Hong Kong, 2011

On Press: Out of Gamut; A Touch of Black

January 13, 2011

Alex Webb, Matthew Pimm signs off, Hong Kong, 2011

Working with Matthew Pimm, head of production at Aperture, who is on press with us in Hong Kong, is always an education.  He’s made me much more aware of the possibilities — as well as the  limitations — of four color printing.  The limitations come up somewhat regularly with my photographs, which are often taken in extreme or mixed light, sometimes producing colors that are unusual or surprising.  As I understand it, the four color dot system simply can’t reproduce certain hues, certain tones that may exist in a continuous tone photograph.  Now, having worked with Matthew on two books, I smile to myself a bit when he tells me, as we’re looking at a particularly deep Kodachrome red — or a strange, intense blue — that the color is “out of gamut.”      Over the years, I’ve learned to translate this phrase of Matthew’s describing those colors of mine most difficult to reproduce, as  — in my best  Brooklynese — “Fuhgeddaboutit, Alex!”

Most of the time, however, a small adjustment will make the image sing, which is what happened with this image (below) of the child with cotton candy (the cover of the Istanbul book) after we added just a touch of black.–Alex Webb

ON PRESS: On Waiting…

January 12, 2011

Being on press involves a lot of waiting: waiting for the plates and press to be prepared, waiting for the pressmen to make initial inking adjustments, waiting for  further inking adjustments at the direction of  the production team, and, finally, waiting for the run to be completed (sometimes compounded by alternate plates inserted for foreign editions).  And then the process begins all over again.  With this book, which has 17 signatures, that’s 34 set-ups plus delays on each run for two foreign editions (French and Italian).  That’s a lot of waiting, even for a photographer like myself, who spends so much of his life waiting and watching for photographs.

So how does a photographer try to break up this monotony? The obvious way: I took this photograph while meandering through the maze of the printing plant. — Alex Webb

Alex Webb, Hong Kong, 2011

The funny thing about waiting around on press with all these amazing photographs of Alex’s — even the street outside the printing plant is beginning to look like an Alex Webb photograph. –Rebecca Norris Webb

ON PRESS: Alex Webb’s 30 Years of Color

January 10, 2011


Over the next few days, Rebecca and I are going to be posting some images and rough, diaristic video about the experience of being on press in Hong Kong for my survey book of 30 years of color photographs:”The Suffering of Light.”  This is the fourth time in five years that Rebecca and I –– who edit and sequence our books together ––have been on press for either one of our individual books or our joint book.

For me, putting together a survey book of 30 years of photographs has been rewarding but also a little unsettling: while on the one hand I am looking forward to printing this upcoming book, on the other hand, I am filled with the doubts that accompany a book that reflects much of my photographic life.

Inevitably, there have already been a few detours.  Our flight to Tokyo was delayed, and as a result we missed our connection into Hong Kong and had to spend the night at a hotel near the Narita Airport. On the flight the next day, however, thanks to unusually good weather, we had a rare sighting of Mount Fuji, which Rebecca photographed with her new ipod touch (a remarkable little invention.)  And, because we’d purposely scheduled an extra travel day, we haven’t lost any time on press for the book.

Let’s just hope any other unexpected detours on press end up so well.––Alex Webb

Rebecca Norris Webb, Mt.Fuji, Japan, 2011

RNW, Narita Airport hotel, Japan, 2011

Alex Webb, "Rebecca," Hong Kong, 2011