Loss and Landscape

Rebecca Norris Webb describes her home state of South Dakota as a “ sparsely populated frontier state on the Great Plains with more buffalo, pronghorn, coyotes, mule deer, ring-necked pheasants and prairie dogs than people.”

This land of wide-open spaces, solitude and silence was the subject of her new book ‘My Dakota’. However, fate stepped in to ensure that the book was more than just an artfully done travelogue. Tragically, a year into her project, her brother unexpectedly died.

Armed with this knowledge, the photographs now betray, not just a sense of place, but also a sense of loss.

Be it the animal skeleton draped over a wire fence, the rain on a windshield that looks out over a brooding sky or the windfall apples littering the side of a back road.

This mood pervades the book and makes it a meditation on the temporary, fragile nature of life.

Many images are shot through torn material, half drawn curtains or windshields as if this place that was once so familiar, is now distant and alien. Indeed, as an ex-resident of the state, Norris Webb is to some degree shooting a memory of her past life as much as depiction of modern day South Dakota.

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