Alex Webb

Alex Webb wins the “Premio Internacional de Fotografia Alcobendas”

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Alex Webb is this years’ winner of the “Premio Internacional de Fotografia Alcobendas”. This prestigious award is given by the Council of Alcobendas to a documentary photographer who illustrates the rights of childhood throughout his career and whose work encourages reflection on the different and fascinating questions that characterize the global situation of children. The winning photograph is “Mexico 1985. Children playing at the playground.” While the 5 children in the photograph are depicted together, each retains a sense of autonomy—each is a world unto himself. The photograph embodies Webb’s characteristic visually layered compositions with a “lyric and realistic” sense of childhood.

It is the combination of technique and humanity that impressed the jury, composed of Lola Garrido, collector and independent curator; Pepe Font de Mora, director of the Foundation Foto Colectania; Carlos Perz Siquier, photographer, National Prize of Photography 2003; Jose Maria Diaz-Maroto, photographer and curator of the Alcobendas’s Collection; and Eva Tomo, Culture and Childhood City Councilor of Alcobendas.

Alex Webb joined Magnum Photos in 1976 and was elected President of the agency last summer. In addition to working for magazines such as Life, Geo and New York Times Magazine, he has also published several books of photography. The most recent, Violet Isle, is a vibrant document of Cuba by Alex and his wife, photographer Rebecca Norris Webb. The book was released last August by Radius Books.

“Violet Isle” is here!

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Advance copies of Violet Isle arrived this week. It’s stunning! This “photographic duet about Cuba, by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, is truly a photographic collaboration, and we had a great time working with these two amazing photographers. The book is “softbound” and each copy comes in a printed, cardboard sleeve. The essay by noted writer Pico Iyer is truly brilliant, and the entirety of the text in the book is in both English and Spanish. The retail price is $50; a signed copy is $55; the limited edition of 40 is $1500.

The front cover (out of the cardboard sleeve) has one of Rebecca’s images…

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And the back cover has one of Alex’s.

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Here’s the prototype for the limited edition which comes with two Type C prints, one by each photographer (and you get to choose from a total of four). Pre-order here:

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Musings About a Photographic Duet: Violet Isle

Through the lens of one photographer, a melody can be cast. It might wind around corners, creep through windows, or curl around a smooth or weathered face. Those great picture melodists might also choose to add harmony to their images, allowing the subject to sing along, contributing warmth and magic. Perhaps there is yet another level of melodic composition. Bach for one, was not satiated by melody and harmony alone. He craved independence between two layered melodic ideas; counterpoint allowed for greater depth and contrast, dissonance and resolution. In this, Bach demonstrated the concept of unity in diversity: the idea that separate individual entities, when woven together, will reveal a chimeric unit; one stronger and more vibrant than either could be in isolation.

Rebecca Norris Webb and Alex Webb have brought their contrapuntal photography to Radius Books with their vibrant photo-essay on Cuba, the “Violet Isle” which will be published this Fall. Their contrasting artistic backgrounds and creative synergy are evident in this book, the culmination of a nearly two-decade-long project.

The book will feature work by the two photographers, woven together in a seamless and elegant visual poem. Standing alongside the photographs is an essay by famed writer Pico Iyer (in both Spanish & English). The book itself will come in a printed cardboard sleeve, and the limited edition of the book comes with 2 type-c color prints, one each by Alex and Rebecca (and from a choice of 4 total). Pre-order the book now.

Alex Webb is best known for his work in Latin America and Istanbul. He describes himself as a “street photographer” who must, “walk and watch and wait and talk, and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown, or the secret heart of the known awaits just around the corner”.

He has been a full member of Magnum Photos since 1979 and was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 to continue his work in Cuba. Some of his previous books include Crossings (Monacelli Press), Istanbul (Aperture), Amazon (Monacelli Press), and From the Sunshine State (Monacelli Press).

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Alex’s Istanbul project is the subject of a wonderful short film, which  you can access below.

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Rebecca Norris Webb describes her moving earlier work, The Glass Between Us as, “An exploration of the complex relationship between animals and people in cities”. The work is supported by Blue Earth Alliance, a non-profit company that supports documentary photography that challenges social norms. St. Louis photojournalist Erik Lunsford muses in his blog, Uncommons, that the work “let’s you choose — rapt attention or casual exploration”. It is this unassuming generosity that characterizes Norris Webb’s work.

As a team, the couple offers masterclasses around the world to photographers who have an interest in long-term projects. Their classes focus on developing spontaneity in photography and intuition in editing. These two important facets of the Webb Method are explored further in this article and interview by Behance Magazine with Norris Webb on following creative inklings.

More information on Rebecca Norris Webb and Alex Webb can be found at their website.