George Webber’s latest book of photography focuses on the vernacular architecture, abandoned townscapes and fading commercial signage from 1950s and 1960s rural Alberta.
“The prairies are Webber’s physical and spiritual home. Born and raised in Drumheller and now living in Calgary Webber has a palpable connection to the places he photographs. His interpretations are direct, sincere and invested with a sense of history and intimacy that imbues his photographs with a heightened, surreal sense of colour and ambiguity that moves them from the ordinary into the realm of the extraordinary. Haunting, touching, evocative and enigmatic, these images occupy a place somewhere between everywhere and nowhere.” —Tobi Bruce, Curator at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
The 200 colour photographs assembled in Webber's latest portfolio, Alberta Book, have been selected from an archive of work spanning nearly 40 years. In this collection viewers will find deteriorating signage that remains almost garishly bright; chrome details from vintage automobiles that still sparkle in the sun; forgotten buildings that have fallen into gentle disrepair; hand-painted window lettering that goes unread; and abandoned landscapes that echo with the whispers of residents long gone. Set against the bright blue Alberta sky or rolling clouds bursting with prairie thunder, these images glow with warm affection for the humble and reticent structures of Alberta’s past.
With narrative appreciations from award-winning Alberta writer Fred Stenson and acclaimed Alberta poet Rosemary Griebel, Alberta Book captures and preserves an important part of the province’s visual heritage.
About the author
George Webber is a renowned documentary photographer whose previous collections with Rocky Mountain Books include an illustrated edition of Robert Kroetsch's classic novel Badlands, Prairie Gothic (with Aritha van Herk), Last Call (with Karen Connelly), Alberta Book (with Fred Stenson), and Saskatchewan Book (with Lorna Crozier). He is the recipient of numerous National Magazine Awards (Canada), two Awards of Excellence from the Society for News Design (USA), and an International Documentary Photography Award (Korea). His images have been featured in American Photo, Canadian Geographic, Lenswork Quarterly, Photolife, The New York Times, and Swerve magazine. In 1999 he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in recognition of his contributions to the visual arts in Canada. George lives in Calgary, Alberta.
"Behind Webber’s lens, Alberta’s story continues and endures. Webber’s art strings paradox upon paradox. Time is stilled, yet alive; ramshackle buildings along highways take centre stage; detritus becomes high art."
Other titles by George Webber
Photographs by George Webber
An Illustrated Tribute
Photographs by George Webber
In This Place
People of the Blood
A Decade-long Photographic Journey on a Canadian Reserve
A World Within
An Intimate Portrait of the Little Bow Hutterite Colony