The Robert Koch Gallery presents Night Calls an online exhibition by Rebecca Norris Webb. Studying at the International Center of Photography in New York, Webb first came across W. Eugene Smith’s Country Doctor, his famous Life Magazine photo essay. Webb was immediately drawn to the subject of Smith’s essay, Dr. Ernest Ceriani, a Colorado country doctor who was just a few years older than her father. She wondered: How would a woman tell this story, especially if she happened to be the doctor’s daughter? In light of this, for the past six years Norris Webb has retraced the route of her 99-year-old father’s house calls through Rush County, Indiana, the rural county where they both were born. Following his work rhythms, she photographed often at night and in the early morning, when many people arrive into the world—her father delivered some one thousand babies—and when many people leave it. Accompanying the photographs, lyrical text pieces addressed to her father create a series of handwritten letters told at a slant. Ultimately, Night Calls is a meditation on fathers and daughters, on memory and one’s first landscape, on care-taking of the land and its inhabitants, and on history that divides us as much as heals us.
Originally a poet, Rebecca Norris Webb often interweaves her text and photographs in her books, including her monographs Night Calls (Radius Books, 2020) and My Dakota—an elegy for her brother who died unexpectedly—with a solo exhibition of the work of the latter at The Cleveland Museum of Art, summer 2015. She has published eight photography books, including the collaborative books with husband and creative partner photographer Alex Web Brooklyn: The City Within (Aperture, 2019), currently on exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, and Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs from Cuba (Radius Books, 2009), the latter exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her photographs have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Le Monde, among other publications. A 2019 NEA grant recipient, Norris Webb has work in numerous collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Cleveland Museum of Art; and the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.