Alex Webb (born May 5, 1952) is a photographer known for his vibrant and complex color photographs. He has been a member of Magnum Photos
since 1979. He's authored 16 books, including Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds
(1986), Under a Grudging Sun
(1989) From The Sunshine State
(2007), The Suffering of Light
(2011), La Calle
(2016), as well as five books with photographer Rebecca Norris Webb, his wife and creative partner—Violet Isle
(2009), Memory City
(2014), Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb on Street Photography and the Poetic Image
(2014), Slant Rhymes
(2017), and Brooklyn: The City Within
He has exhibited at museums worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of Art
, NYC, the Metropolitan Museum
, NYC, and the High Museum of Art
in Atlanta, Georgia. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007. He has contributed to Geo, TIME Magazine
, National Geographic
, and The New York Times Magazine
Born in San Francisco, Webb was raised in New England. Webb first became interested in photography as a high school student and in 1972 attended the Apeiron Workshops in Millerton, New York, where he met Magnum photographers Bruce Davidson
and Charles Harbutt. He went on to study history and literature at Harvard University (graduating in 1974), but also studied photography at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
. By 1974 he was working as a photojournalist and in 1976 he became an associate member of Magnum Photos. During this time he documented small-town life in the American South. He also did some work in the Caribbean and Mexico, which led him, in 1978, to begin working in color, which he has continued to do.
Webb's work has been exhibited around the world, including at the Walker Art Center
, the Museum of Photographic Arts
, the International Center of Photography
, the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art
in San Diego, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is in numerous collections. He has received commissions from the High Museum of Art as well as the Banesto Foundation in Spain.
Webb now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Rebecca Norris Webb, who is also a photographer, and they have collaborated on a number of books.
Alex Webb is best known for his complex and vibrant color photographs of serendipitous or enigmatic moments, often in places with socio-political tensions. Over the past 45 years, Webb has worked in places as varied as the U.S.-Mexico border, Haiti, Istanbul, and, most recently, a number of U.S. cities. “My work is questioning and exploratory,” he says. “I believe in photographs that convey a certain level of ambiguity, that ask questions rather than provide answers.”
In 1974, the 22-year-old Webb, a Magnum Photos nominee, began working as a professional photojournalist, going on to work for the New York Times Magazine, Geo, Life, National Geographic, among other magazines. Alex became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1979.
Working mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, he credits those cultures with inspiring his interest in color, when he transitioned from black-and-white photography in 1979. Webb has published 16 photography books, including The Suffering of Light
, a survey of 30 years of his color photographs, and Memory City
(with poet and photographer Rebecca Norris Webb, his wife and creative partner), a meditation about film, time, and the city of Rochester, NY, itself, the long-time home of Kodak, in the year following the company’s bankruptcy. His most recent books include La Calle: Photographs from Mexico
and the collaboration Slant Rhymes
with Rebecca. In fall 2019, Aperture
will publish his seventeenth book—and fifth collaboration with Rebecca—Brooklyn: The City Within
He has received numerous awards and grants including a Hasselblad Foundation Grant in 1998, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1990, and the Leica Medal of Excellence in 2000.
Source: Magnum Photos