Untitled (44UN-7963-162), Sudan, 1958


Limited edition

Archival pigment print - Stamped and Titled by the Todd Webb Archive

Edition of 10
50.8 x 50.8 cm
Unframed
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Edition of 5
76.2 x 76.2 cm
Unframed
Please contact-us for price

Copyright. Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive


Certificate of authenticity


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Untitled (44UN-7963-162), Sudan, 1958

This photograph of a serenely composed man in twilight holds poetic portent, suggestive of Webb’s efforts to bridge the cultural distances between photographer and subject. As a photographer who counted pathbreaking Black American photojournalist Gordon Parks among his close friends, Webb was sensitive to the potential for racial stereotyping in his photography of Africa, and deliberately created photographs expressive of the individuality of his sitters.

At the same time, Webb was an outsider to the cultures through which he traveled, and was privileged by his access as a U.N. contractor. Consequently, his view of the people he encountered was invariably filtered by unseen, but influential, biases. In several instances along his journey, he cited a lack of “Africanness,” suggesting his own expectations regarding indigenous life and culture in the diverse nations he visited.

Todd Webb

In 1905, Charles Clayton ("Todd") Webb III was born in Detroit, Michigan. Having been a successful stockbroker in the 1920’s, he lost all of his earnings, and then some, in The Crash. During the Depression, Webb prospected for gold, worked as a forest ranger, and wrote short stories that have gone unpublished. It was during this exploratory period in the 1930s that he first picked up a camera. His interest and love for photography soon crowded out his writing ambitions, and he was able to do the two things he loved the most: travel, meet people, and photograph them.

In 1938 Webb joined the Chrysler Camera Club in Detroit, where he met aspiring photographer Harry Callahan. Through a workshop from Ansel Adams, Webb's interest in the sharp focus technique of "straight photography" was confirmed. After serving in World War II, Todd Webb moved to New York where he nurtured a friendship with Alfred Stieglitz and his wife Georgia O’Keeffe who introduced him to Beaumont Newhall, and later Newhall curated the first major exhibition of Webb's photographs for The Museum of The City of New York. Also during this time, Todd worked for Roy Stryker and the Standard Oil Company.

In 1949 Todd Webb returned to Paris, and met his wife Lucille, remaining in France for the next four years. In both 1955 and 1956, Todd Webb was awarded two successive John Simon Guggenheim fellowships to photograph the pioneer trails that early America settlers followed to Oregon and California. While his contemporary, Robert Frank drove across the country during these years, Todd walked a...

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