Alex Webb was born in San Francisco, California in 1952. He became interested in photography during his high school years. He majored in history and literature at Harvard University and studied photography at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Webb attended the Apeiron Workshops in 1972; he began working as a professional photojournalist in 1974. His photographs began to appear in such publications as the New York Times Magazine, Life, Geo, and eventually in Stern and National Geographic. Webb joined Magnum Photos as an associate member in 1976, becoming a full member in 1979.
During the mid-1970’s, Webb conducted reportages in the US south, traveling extensively, documenting small town life in black-and-white. He also began working in the Caribbean and Mexico. In 1979, Webb began a body of color work that he continues to pursue today. Since then he has traveled throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. His books of photographs include Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds (1986), Under A Grudging Sun (1989), From the Sunshine State (1996), Amazon: From the Floodplains to the Clouds (1997), and the technology-mediated artist’s book, Dislocations (1999), which he produced while a fellow at the Film Study Center.
Webb received a New York Foundation of the Arts Grant in 1986, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1990, a Hasselblad Foundation Grant in 1998, and won the Leopold Godowsky Color Photography Award in 1988 and the Leica Medal of Excellence in 2000. He has exhibited widely both in the United States and Europe. Among museums that have exhibited his work are the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the International Center of Photography, the High Museum of Art, the Southeast Museum of Photography, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.