FOTOTAPETA - Critics write about your use of color, but I was thinking about your photographs from the point of view of where they were taken, about differences between the North and the South, about the clash of cultures rather than colors. In your photographs, the South is a kind of a different world. Could you describe why you have chosen to take pictures in these particular parts of the world like Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean?
ALEX WEBB - There are different kinds of photographers, and some photographers feel the need to photograph where they live, and others go out and leave where they come from behind and explore. I think of my first explorations, and how exactly and why that did take me to the South no one knows. I did start photographing both in the American South and then the US-Mexico border and Haiti. In Haiti and the US-Mexico border I began to sense something, a sense of energy on the street, a sense of life as lived on the street. I come from New England, the northeastern part of the US, where things really happen very much behind closed doors. You do not have the sense of life out on the street. Going to the US-Mexico border or to Haiti was a sense of energy and immediacy on the street. I found it very exciting.
I started as a black-and white photographer, but then also I discovered the intensity of color in these places, and that is why I began working in color, because I found myself working in places where color played a very special role. It was very much a part of the culture. It was embedded in the culture. Those were reasons why I was drawn to those places.
I think also there have been certain motivations that have come out of literature, I think that my first trip to Haiti I made right after reading Graham Greene's "The Comedians", which is a novel set in Haiti. It really interested me and scared me about Haiti. My first book, "Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds" (1986), which is a series of photographs from the tropics, probably has a sort of complicated depth to the metaphors that exist in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" - a journey into a kind of darkness. That first book is really structured that way, as a journey from light to dark, from things that are more elusive and fleeting to the things that are more and more intense and heavy. So it is very complicated to figure out exactly why one chooses to go wherever one chooses to go, because a lot of it has to do with intuitive choices. But I would say it is a combination of wanting to leave the world of New England and being inspired by certain books and finding things and getting more and more excited following those passions.
Source (http://fototapeta.art.pl) image (Barbara Francoli)