Todd Webb


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Photographer. Known especially for scenes of postwar New York, he combined a documentary interest in the life of his times with dignified artistry in composing images. Born in Detroit, Charles Clayton Webb grew up there and in Ontario, Canada. As a young man he worked in Detroit and California before leaving on a trip to Panama, where he turned his attention to photography. After he returned to Detroit, he found encouragement from Harry Callahan and Arthur Siegel, but was also influenced by Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, and Helen Levitt. After service as a navy photographer during World War II, he moved to New York. There he used a large view camera, which allowed him to construct stately compositions with delicate tonal range. He particularly photographed the architecture and commercial culture of the city, appreciating their relationship to the emotional lives of ordinary people. In the mid-1950s he photographed along the Santa Fe and Oregon trails. For other projects, he recorded the streets of Paris and created a notable twenty-five-year series devoted to his friend Georgia O'Keeffe and the New Mexico landscape she painted. At various times he lived in Santa Fe, in the south of France, and in Bath, England, before settling permanently in Maine. He died in a hospital in Lewiston, not far from his final home in Auburn.

Subjects: Art.

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