Selection” presents a wide range of images hand-picked by Alex Webb while giving a unique opportunity to gaze into diversity of almost 30 years of artist’s creative output. Expressive yet colourful shots were captured on the streets of India, Greece, Grenada, Haiti, Cuba and Mexico. Photographs from the two latter destinations grew to become the subject of both of Alex Webb’s books (“La Calle” and “Violet Isle”) as well as for a part of wider collaboration with Rebecca Norris Webb, artist’s wife and a professional photographer.
The unique value of Alex Webb’s photography comes from the artist’s ability to capture the enigmatic and at the same time paradoxical moments. It may happen that the views and events that he is able to capture become a commentary on the economic or state situation of the place of visit. Many of his photos seem too be too absorbing or too accurate not to be staged. Webb describes his work as an arduous process and often not a very efficient one. – I spend most of the time walking the streets with my camera, guided by intuition and then I point the lens at places of my choice. It is not all the time, that gods of photography are propitious to me and allow me to come across a unique moment – as Webb reports in one of the interviews.
Alex Webb was born in San Francisco in 1952. He has been interested in photography ever since his youth. He studied literature and history at Harvard as well as photography at the Apeiron Photo Workshop in Millerton, New York. Since 1979 he has been a member of the famous international photographic cooperative – Magnum. Originally he worked in black and white, portraying the social landscape of America. His perspective was witty and ironic, but it lacked the emotional load. Nevertheless, since his travel to Haiti in 1975 Alex Webb has reviewed his approach. He discovered the harsh and dangerous world bathed in vibrant colors. To capture the culture for which colour was one of the main ways of expression he decided to abandon the black and white frames.
The move was significant for establishing Webb’s unique and notorious style, combining both pictures in colour, a documentary perspective and an individual point of view. Webb’s images are also special thanks to the geometric precision in the composition, and the play between light spots and shadow, as well as use of several plans that contain substantial content.