Photographs by Alex Webb
Review by Sean Sheehan
Since joining Magnum Photos at the age of 24, Alex Webb has certainly kept himself busy. This latest volume, a handsomely produced book containing 86 photographs, gathers together work produced by Webb over the course of his numerous trips to Mexico between 1975 and 2007.
For those unfamiliar with Webb’s oeuvre, the book contains eight uncharacteristically black-and-white photographs—surprising, given Webb’s love of color. Yet these are important examples of Webb’s early work, the kind that first attracted the attention of Magnum when he was beginning his career. Despite their simplicity, it is not difficult to see what caught their attention: take his 1978 shot of a graveyard, with a boy in the foreground addressing the camera and two riders on one horse cantering by in the background. Fresh floral wreaths indicate memories of those buried here, but a cross is slowly collapsing into the ground and an old shack looks disused; memories also die, in time, and the realm of the eternally departed is framed by the temporality of the two riders and the boy who questions the viewer’s intrusive presence.