From the bookshelf: Alex Webb - 'The Suffering of light' / by Alex Bamford

I was first introduced to Alex Webb's work a few years back by Matt Stuart, now a Magnum photographer himself. Matt, a legendary street photographer, is incredibly generous with his knowledge and while we worked together on campaigns for Bank of Scotland he opened my eyes to a whole range of street photographers. For colour work, Webb is my favourite.

The genre, "street photography" doesn't really sum up his work, it could be photo journalism or fine art, but as Webb is quoted as saying, "to me it is all photography". His compositions are complex, something you might expect from a classical painter but these pictures are all taken on the fly with no interaction with the subjects. You can lose yourself in his pictures as your eyes dart around the multiple figures. He is recognised as a pioneer of American colour photography and his search for the intense colour and light that characterises his work led him to extensively shoot in Haiti and Mexico. 

The Suffering of Light is a collection of work taken from Webb's 30 year career. You can see more pictures an order the book here.

 MEXICO. Oaxaca state. Tehuantepec. 1985. Children playing in a courtyard.  © Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

MEXICO. Oaxaca state. Tehuantepec. 1985. Children playing in a courtyard. 
© Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

 USA. San Ysidro, California. 1979. Mexicans arrested while trying to cross the border to United States. © Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

USA. San Ysidro, California. 1979. Mexicans arrested while trying to cross the border to United States.
© Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

 HAITI. Cite Soleil. 1986. © Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

HAITI. Cite Soleil. 1986.
© Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

 HAITI. Port-au-Prince. 1987. A memorial for victims of army violence. © Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

HAITI. Port-au-Prince. 1987. A memorial for victims of army violence.
© Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

 MEXICO. Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. 1996. © Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

MEXICO. Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. 1996.
© Alex Webb/Magnum Photos