In 2005, photographer and poet Rebecca Norris Webb (born 1956) set out to photograph her home state of South Dakota, a sparsely populated frontier state on the Great Plains with more buffalo, pronghorn, mule deer and prairie dogs than people. It’s a land of powwows and rodeos, buffalo roundups and the world’s only “corn palace.” Dominated by space and silence, South Dakota’s harsh and beautiful landscape can be tough and unforgiving, prey to brutal wind and extreme weather. This was the South Dakota Norris Webb set out to photograph.
The next year, however, everything changed for Norris Webb, when one of her brothers died unexpectedly of heart failure. “For months,” she writes in the afterword to this volume, “one of the few things that eased my unsettled heart was the landscape of South Dakota … I began to wonder—does loss have its own geography?”
An instant classic of the genre, Norris Webb’s beautiful photobook is now back in print in a second edition. Rebecca Norris Webb: My Dakota—which interweaves the photographer’s lyrical images and spare text, reproduced in her own scrawling penmanship—is a small, intimate book about the West and its weathers, and an elegy for a lost brother.