INsight Artist, 2012
“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." —Alex Webb from Under A Grudging Sun
Alex Webb was born in San Francisco, California in 1952. He became interested in photography during his high school years and attended the Apeiron Workshops in 1972. He majored in history and literature at Harvard University, studying photography at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Webb joined the international photographers cooperative Magnum Photos as an associate member in 1976.
During the mid-1970s, Webb photographed in the US south, documenting small town life in black and white. He also began working in the Caribbean and Mexico, which led him, in 1976, to start photographing in color, which he has continued to do to the present. He has worked for many magazines, including the NY Times Magazine, Life, GEO, and National Geographic magazine. He has published seven books: Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds (1986), Under A Grudging Sun (1989), From the Sunshine State (1996), Amazon: From the Floodplains to the Clouds (1997), Dislocations (1998–99), Crossings (2003) and Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names (2007).
Webb received a New York Foundations of the Arts Grant in 1986, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1990, a Hasselblad Foundation Grant in 1998, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1007. He won the Leopold Godowsky Color Photography Award in 1988, the Leica Medal of Excellence in 2000, the David Octavius Hill award in 2002, and the Lucca Photo Festival Award in 2000. His photographs have been the subject of articles in Art in America and Modern Photography and he has worked on artist commissions for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Banesto Foundation in Spain. He has exhibited widely both in the United States and Europe. Among museums that have exhibited his work are: The Walker Art Center, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the International Center of Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art NY, and the Museum of Fine Art Houston.