Darius Himes: Living on the Great Plains involves a great deal of driving to do, well, basically anything. You’ve mentioned that you think of this as a “road-trip” book, a genre that has a long and storied history in photography. Tell us about how this book fits into that tradition.
Rebecca Norris Webb: Well, to begin with, this project began with a road trip in 2005: Alex and I drove from our Brooklyn neighborhood to my hometown in Hot Springs, South Dakota, a journey of some 1700 miles, in our old Saab, which we’d bartered photographic prints for earlier that year. Alex then flew back East, and I had a summer to explore my home state photographically. I’ve learned over the years to follow wherever a project may lead me, so I don’t think I consciously thought that My Dakota would necessarily become a road-trip book like The Americans, although photographing in the West brought to mind some of my favorite Frank photographs, such as “Butte, Montana, 1956,” which he photographed through the sheer curtains of his hotel room’s window.
I’ve always marveled at how Frank managed to capture not only the feel of this Montana mining town’s drab downtown, but also a sense of something else more complicated and difficult to pin down (Melancholy? Irony? Reverie? A mix of all three?), something that suggests a kind of complex interiority of the poetic Swiss-born Frank as he gazed out from his hotel room at the bleak reality of what the once legendary American West had become by the mid 1950’s. It’s a view that shouldn’t “merit a second glance,” according to the cultural critic Geoff Dyer, yet “it demands that we return to it again and again.” For me, that’s usually a clue that I’m looking at a truly poetic image.
TALKS, LECTURES, EVENTS
——FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2012. Miami. Small, intimate print viewing with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb for former and new collectors. Contact Alex directly for more information as soon as possible, because space is limited: firstname.lastname@example.org
——SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2012, 7-8:30pm MIAMI, “An Evening with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb @ Miami Street Photography Workshop during Art/Miami, Kike San Martin Studio. 2045 NW 1st Ave. Free but seating is limited.
——NOV. 8 2012-JAN. 27, 2012, LONDON, “CARTIER-BRESSON: A QUESTION OF COLOR,” group exhibition with Alex Webb, Trent Parke, Joel Meyerwitz, Harry Gruyaert, Helen Levitt, Saul Leiter and others, an exhibition curated by William Ewing.
——SEPT.21, 2012 – JANUARY 13, 2012, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, “Looking at the Land: 21st Century American Views,” A Collaboration with Flak Photo and RISD Museum of Art, group projection and online exhibition, curated by Andy Adams, with photographs by Rebecca Norris Webb, Brian Ulrich, Todd Hido, Joshua Dudley Greer, Christine Carr, and others.
- UPCOMING 2012/13 WORKSHOPS WITH ALEX AND REBECCA
——JANUARY 12-19, 2013, STREETS OF HAVANA 2013 with Nordic Light, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb workshop. For more information, including how to apply, click here
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