Alex Webb : Quote of the Month

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“Disciple art of walking and wondering. It is not that you just drive along, jump out of the car and take a picture and get back to the car. It is really about walking and feeling the situation. How do you enter the situation. Some situations you get comfortable just walking right in. Others you have to sort of dance around the edge and come in here. The whole sense of the process, a rhythm of the process. The process of going back to a place. The process of learning about a place.” Alex Webb, from Things That Seem Paradoxical Can Coexist. An interview by Marek Grygiel and Adam Mazur in FotoTapeta, 2005.

Here’s the most famous version of it: “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.” (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website)

The walking and the learning about the place parts, yeah that’s something Webb has always stressed — just check his Magnum page.

That FotoTapeta thingo is an online edition of a Polish art magazine with some really good stuff in it. You must know Polish tho, doh. Or not. You may just want to take a look at photographs. Or read more Alex Webb’s interview because it is a good read and Alex talks a bit about the influence of digital technology on his photography.

For the lazy ones of you, here it goes it:
What has influenced me in terms of digital technology is the technique of printing. These photographs are printed with a lambda or light-jet machine, which produces a print on photographic paper but it is written from a scan with a laser. For me what it means is that you have much, much more control over color than in the darkroom. I used to make cibachromes, and it was just a huge struggle. You had to make special masks, specifically to control reds, because reds in cibachrome go crazy. With this technique you make a really high-res scan and I work with a printer to control certain things I do with Photoshop. I make a test print and I go in and say “This needs a little more magenta, we need a little more contrast here,” and so forth. Then I come back after few days and after several proof prints we have it right. For me, digital technology has utterly transformed the process of printing and it has made it much closer and much more personal in many ways, because it is much more like the way I used to work in the darkroom as a black-and-white photographer. I love that. I am really excited about prints in a way that I was not before. It is also easier to make larger prints. This show is all this size, but I also make larger prints for certain shows. For certain pictures, they really get another kind of presence as an object when you make them larger.” (from the same interview with Alex Webb in FotoTapeta)

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