Rochester Views

I’ve finally worked out how to get TIME Lightbox to almost work on my computer, running the latest Firefox. It has always been a frustrating experience before and the only way I’d found to see all the pictures was to manually alter the address line in the browser. But now I’ve realised you can actually go on to the next image by simply waiting for the black rectangle to appear along with the ‘timer thingy’ and then pressing the ‘F5’ key to reload.

It still isn’t perfect in that to see the pictures in the full window (they call it full screen) you have to do it individually for each image, as the reload reverts to normal view. Or perhaps that is how it’s supposed to work?

I suspect my problems come from my computer refusing to accept some advertising or tracking stuff TIME want to load on me. I do have a few things set up like ‘DoNOTTrackMe‘ which blocks four trackers on the page.   Although I post a lot of material on the web I value my privacy and can’t really understand people who use Facebook but don’t look at their privacy settings. And I use and would recommend FB Purity and the advice in How to stop Facebook snooping on your web browsing activity and other similar articles.

Actually it is best to look at the work on the photographers’ own site, where there is also some text about the project. The pictures were made in 2012-3.

Back to Rochester, long the home of the yellow box which fed so many cameras, and as well as Kodak, also Bausch and Lomb and Xerox. Kodak no longer make film, and some of the pictures by Alex Webb here were shot on the last few rolls of the Kodachrome that was so symbiotic to his photographic style. But now the film can only be processed – with slightly unusual ‘distressed’ results as black and white. There are also some typically bold colour images by Alex (which I presume were made on digital), to my taste rather stronger than the more poetic pictures by his wife, Rebecca Norris Webb, still working with (no longer Kodak) film.

The book is published by Radius Books who advise “As both previous RADIUS books with these artists have sold out quickly – this is sure to be a collector’s item.” I could ask why if they think this to be the case they did not produce a larger print run. But then perhaps they did!

Although the US release date is give as June 30, it appears to be available in the UK now. ISBN-10: 1934435767 ISBN-13: 978-1934435762 and

As well as the standard edition, signed copies are available for an extra $5, as well as a limited edition with a couple of signed digital C-types thrown in for an extra $1440. I’m not greatly attracted by signed books – though I do have a few, mainly from having attended book launches or having bought directly from the photographer.  But though I’d never pay a great deal more for a signed copy, I think the idea of marketing them at a small premium – so long as most or all of it goes to the photographers – is a good one. Although given the deliberately small print runs of many new photographic books, there really is little reason why every copy should not be a signed copy.

Rochester of course still has a special place in photography, George Eastman House, the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography which opened in 1949. It was also one of the first institutions to put a large collection of its photographic works on-line in 1998, and although the original site was decommissioned in 2006 it remains available for ‘historic and research purposes’.  The replacement site is perhaps easier to search, and quite a lot of the older work is on Flickr

One Response to “Rochester Views”

  1. Published in the UK by Thames & Hudson and available at considerable discount through Amazon UK.

    You can read Jim Johnson’s view of the project in his blog ‘(Notes on) Politics, Theory & Photography’ at
    The Webbs Visit Rochester:

    His “banal beyond belief” is a rather harsh judgement, but in part fair; having now looked at the whole work I think that it is a book that really needed a strong editor standing outside of the marriage. It just is not possible to be objective about a spouse’s work.

    The book is also interesting in terms of design and production – perhaps something of a reaction to the ease of producing ‘ordinary’ printed books on demand through companies such as Blurb.

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