Back in print, this multilayered portrait of “the violet isle”—a little-known name for Cuba inspired by the rich color of the soil there—presents an engaging, at times unsettling document of a vibrant and vulnerable land. It combines two separate photographic visions: Alex Webb’s exploration of street life, with his attuned and complex attention to detail, and Rebecca Norris Webb’s fascination with the unique, quixotic collections of animals she discovered there, from tiny zoos and pigeon societies to hand-painted natural history displays and quirky personal menageries.
The result is an insightful and intriguing blend of two different aesthetics inspired by Cuba’s existence over the last 50 years in an economic, political, cultural and ecological bubble virtually untouched by the rest of the world, and unlikely to remain that way for much longer. Award-winning writer Pico Iyer provides an accompanying essay for this English/Spanish bilingual edition.
Slant Rhymes is a photographic conversation between two renowned authors and artists, Magnum photographer Alex Webb and poet and photographer Rebecca Norris Webb. Selected from photographs taken during the Webbs’ nearly 30-year relationship (a friendship evolving into a marriage and creative partnership), this group of 80 photographs is laid out in pairs—one by Alex, one by Rebecca—to create a series of visual rhymes that talk to one another, often at a slant and in intriguing and revealing ways.
“Sometimes we find our photographic slant rhymes share a similar palette or tone or geometry,” writes Alex Webb in the introduction to the book. “Other times, our paired photographs strike a similar note—often a penchant for surreal or surprising or enigmatic moments—although often in two different keys.”
In this volume, the artists’ photographs—many of which are published here for the first time—are interwoven with short text pieces by the Webbs. A deeply personal book, beautifully produced as an intimate clothbound edition with a tipped-on cover, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb: Slant Rhymes is an unfinished love poem, told at a slant.
Rebecca Norris Webb, originally a poet, often interweaves her text and photographs in her six books, most notably with her monograph, My Dakota—an elegy for her brother who died unexpectedly—with a solo exhibition of the work at The Cleveland Museum of Art in 2015. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Le Monde, among other publications, and is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Cleveland Museum of Art, and George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.
Alex Webb has published 16 books, including a survey book of 30 years of color work, The Suffering of Light. He’s exhibited at museums worldwide including the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A Magnum Photos member since 1979, his work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and other publications. He has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007.
The Violet Isle is a little-known nickname for Cuba, inspired by its richly colored soil--one of the many qualities that make the country so seductive to photographers. This handsomely designed, slipcased edition offers an engaging, at times unsettling document of a country that, for the past 50 years, has remained in an economic, political, cultural and ecological bubble, isolated from the rest of the world (though it is unlikely to stay that way for much longer). The 70 images collected here are a collaboration between Magnum photographer Alex Webb, who captures Cuba's street life with his trademark attention to detail and color, and Rebecca Norris Webb, who focuses on the unique, quixotic collection of animals she found there. This volume is an insightful blend of two different photographic aesthetics. The famous travel writer Pico Iyer provides an accompanying essay.