Alex Webb

Alex Webb (1952-  ) was born in san Francisco and raised in New England.  He became interested in photography during high school and afterward attended the Apeiron Workshops in Millerton, New York  in 1972.  There he met Magnum photographers Bruce Davidson and Charles Harbutt.  He then majored in history and literature at Harvard while also studying photography at the Carpenter School for the Visual Arts.  In 1974 Webb began working as a professional photojournalist.  He became an associate member of Magnum in 1976. During this time he documented small-town life in the American south, and expanded his explorations to Mexico and the Caribbean – which in 1978, led him to begin working in color.  Feeling somewhat detached from his original subject matter – the American social landscape,  Webb happened across Graham Greene’s novel, The Comedians, about the turbulent world of Papa Doc Duvalier’s Haiti.  Webb’s  first three-week trip to the island transformed him.   He had sought out a world that more challenging, frightening and fascinating than what he had known.  A world of intense, saturated  color, which was to become the artist’s signature palette.  Webb became an inveterate traveler, photographing all over the world for such magazines as GEO, Time and the New York Times Magazine.  Says Webb:  “I only know how to approach a place by walking.  For what does a street photographer do but 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.”  Over the years, Webb garnered numerous awards for his work, including the Overseas Press Club Award (1980), the W. Eugene Smith Foundation Grant (1990),the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1990), the Hasselblad Foundation (1998), the Leica Medal of Excellence (2000), and the Guggenheim Fellowship (2007), among others

Webb’s work has also been exhibited around the world, including at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, the Museum of Photographic Arts ,  the International Center of Photography, New York, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta,  the Museum of Contemporary art, San Diego, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.  His work is represented in numerous collections public and private.  He has also been a prolific publisher, with a dozen volumes of his photography filled with the images he has become known for, beautifully constructed vignettes of brilliant color, elaborate design and often confrontational humanity.   The first was Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds: Photographs from the Tropics, (New York ,1986).  The newest is Memory City, created with his wife, photographer Rebecca Norris Webb, and  published 2014 by Radius Books. It is a multi-layered rumination on memory and place and what may very well be, “the last days of film as we know it.” The Webbs are based in New York.