Violet Isle. A Duet of Photographs From Cuba. Photographs by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb. Essay by Pico Iyer. Radius Books, Santa Fe, NM, 2009. 144 pp. Quarto (10.5 x 11.25 in./26.5 x 28.5 cm). Limited edition of 40 copies. SIGNED on colorphon page by both artists and hand-numbered. Stiff photo-illustrated wrappers. 70 color reproductions. Accompanied by 2 Type C color prints—one by Alex, the other by Rebecca (shown at right and first image in the slideshow below; both prints measure 11 x 14 in./28 x 35.5 cm; signed, titled and numbered on verso by either Alex or Rebecca). Housed in cardboard case, with prints housed in printed cardboard, that is additionally signed and numbered by both artists).
This multi-layered 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 fifty 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."--the publisher