I guess it’s the first photograph I ever saw — this family portrait taken in the late 1950’s — probably because it’s intertwined with my first memory. I remember sitting on my father’s lap. The photographer was a blur of bright lights, a deep voice insisting that I fold my hands exactly like my father’s hands.
Out of the corner of my eye, I watched one of my identical twin brothers, Dave — part guardian, part mischievous spirit — shoot sly smiles over his shoulder at me, trying, as always, to make me laugh at the most inappropriate of times. My only defense was to gaze down into the folds of my new dress and hide. The geometric pattern was indelible — all those varying hues of gray and blue like a stormy, unsettled sky. How much of this is my memory? How much of this is my memory of the photograph? I wonder about this from time to time since Dave died a few years ago.
Originally a poet, Rebecca Norris Webb‘s latest photography book, “My Dakota,” blends her poetry with her photographs of her home state of South Dakota. The exhibition “My Dakota” An Elegy for My Brother” is traveling this summer to the North Dakota Museum of Art and Ricco/Maresca Gallery in New York. (Photo of Rebecca Norris Webb: Andrzej Bogacz.)