2009 The Photo Project: Editing Text and Image Workshop by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

From Stella Kalaw

Fine Arts Work Center
Providence, MA

Workshop dates: August 2-7, 2009

Registration begins in January 2009


Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb

This workshop is for photographers currently working on a long-term photographic project that they are passionate about. Over the week, participants will edit and sequence their photographs from this project (30-80 small prints), write an introduction, and work on a title.

Alex and Rebecca Webb, a creative team who often edit books and projects together including their upcoming first joint book, Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs from Cuba, will show the class how to edit intuitively through an editing exercise, one-on-one encounters, and group edits. Participants will also try their hand at writing an introduction and a title, with feedback from the Webbs, who between the two of them, have written introductions and titles for some 10 photographic books.

Alex and Rebecca invite formers students to apply, but also welcome other photographers -- both professional and serious amateurs -- with long-term projects. The main emphasis in this workshop is on focusing and shaping a project one’s passionate about into a coherent whole. For some participants, this may result in a layout of a photographic exhibition; for others, it may result in a rough book dummy that photographers could use as a guide for one day designing a maquette (designed book dummy) to be shown to potential photo book publishers; for others, the project workshop may result in an edit of their project for a future self-published online book; and for others, it may produce a sequence of family photos or other personal body of work.


--30-80 photo prints (5x7 or 8x10) of a long-term project. They can be either ink jet prints or cheap photographic prints, The quality of the print isn’t what’s important. We just need to see the image.

--Notebook or laptop to write the introduction and title

Lab fee $20 per person

Alex Webb, a member of Magnum Photos since 1976, has published seven books including Hot Light/Half Made Worlds, Under a Grudging Sun, Crossings: Photographs from the U.S. Mexican Border, and Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names, his most recent book. He has worked for many of the major publications including National Geographic, Life, New York Times Magazine, GEO, and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Hasselblad Foundation Grant, and the Leica Medal of Excellence. Webb’s work has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and Europe in museums such as the International Center of Photography, the High Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego.

Rebecca Norris Webb
, originally a poet, had her first NYC solo exhibition at Ricco Maresca Gallery in 2006, the same year her first book, The Glass Between Us, was published. Her series, which uses text and images to explore the complicated relationship between people and animals in cities, has also been included in several group exhibitions, including "Why Look at Animals?" at the George Eastman House. Currently, she's working on a series in the American West, My Dakota, as well as the upcoming joint book, Violet Isle, with her husband and creative partner, Alex Webb. Rebecca edited Alex's two most recent books (Crossings and Istanbul) and teaches photography workshops with him around the world.


Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris-Webb during a weekend workshop by Fotovision.org. San Francisco, CA April 2007
"The ultimate reward is the process"- Alex Webb

My cousin from Barcelona introduced me to Alex Webb's work many years ago. He was 19 and I was 27. I remember him pulling copies of Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds and Under the Grudging Sun from the bookshelf in the school library. We sat down together, I held the book while he turned the pages. He spoke with such enthusiasm, his eyes gleaming as he pointed out the complexities of Alex's compositions. My cousin was so inspired that he worked for months saving money to buy a Leica M-6 and two lenses. I remember sitting down with him at a downtown coffee shop right after he purchased them. He beamed with pride as he played with his camera. He used them in West Africa and came back with incredible images.

When I heard Alex & his wife, Rebecca were coming to San Francisco to hold a workshop last year, I immediately signed up. I was very nervous showing my recent projects. The last critique I ever had was back when I was a student in photography school. It turned out to be a wonderful experience. Alex and Rebecca gave constructive feedback and were very encouraging with the direction I was taking with one of my projects. Alex rolled out a few 30x40 chromogenic prints from his Istanbul series. It gave me a different perspective seeing his images on a larger scale. Most of all, hearing both of them speak passionately about photography was very inspiring. I carry their words with me in my own life and work.

I mailed a signed copy of Istanbul: A City of A Hundred Names to my cousin after the workshop. Although, I only managed to write a generic thank you note, what I really wanted to say was how grateful I was for that special moment we shared in the library.

"Coming back to a place pushes you forward."- Rebecca Norris Webb