La Calle brings together nearly thirty years of photography by Alex Webb, created from 1978 to 2007 in Mexico City and the surrounding states, villages, and cities. Webb frequently credits the landscapes and cityscapes of Mexico for prompting his shift to color photography. He worked intensely on the U.S.–Mexico border and in the densely populated capital city through the early 1980s, inspired by what poet Octavio Paz calls “Mexicanism—delight in decorations, carelessness and pomp, negligence, passion, and reserve.” In La Calle, Webb presents a celebration of the street, taken in a vibrant, colorful place which has undergone transformations since his first trips to Mexico—including natural disasters, financial resurgence, political corruption, and drug wars.
Since the late 1970s, Webb has consistently created photographs characterized by vivid color and light. His work, with its richly layered and complex composition, touches on multiple genres, including street photography, photojournalism, and fine art, but, as Geoff Dyer states, “Wherever he goes Webb always ends up in a Bermuda-shaped triangle where the distinctions between photojournalism, documentary, and art blur and disappear.” Webb’s ability to distill gesture, color, and contrasting cultural tensions into single, beguiling frames results in evocative images that convey a sense of mystery, irony, and humor.