Photographer Noah Webb nudges us to think about the relationship between us and the world around us. In his work series “Nomadic Reflector”, he carefully reframes the stunning and diverse landscapes around the central character—a dreamlike and abstract-looking figure, in order to share with us his perspectives on human nature and space. We talked to Noah about the process of creating the photographs in this collection, how did this project come to be, what are his messages, and what is next for the Nomadic Reflector.
Could you please tell us about the project? What is it about? What are you trying to communicate with the audience through it?
Nomadic Reflector is a new project I conceived photographing a dreamlike figure drifting through surreal but natural landscapes. Some people see the figure like a disco ball and some more like a suit of armor and others like an alien angel. I would like the audience to make their own interpretation of what the figure is to them. I was thinking about how many people are nomadic. It’s not negative or positive just an individual in search of a place to call home. Trying to fit into their environment but in the end, they appear more like a spectacle. I kept the being alone in the images to amplify the sense of the individual.
Besides the locations being surreal they are meant to feel epic and grand making the solo Nomadic Reflector connected and yet separate at the same time. Landscapes, where I have shot the mirror man, include Marin County, Salton Sea, Iceland (various locations), Zion National park, Dunes near Death Valley, and other parts of California.
Could you please tell us more about the suit?
I made the suit out of over 2,500 tiny mirrors adhered to a breathable body suit. It weighs about 28 lbs. Very little photoshop is done on the images as I like to make things without much digital manipulation.
What inspired you to create the Nomadic Reflector series?
I had a very vivid dream where I saw a being with a shining suit full of mirrors and it was standing on a dune in the desert. I tried to replicate that dream and you can see that first image in the series. I have always had extremely detailed dreams and I try to incorporate them into my work.
You mentioned that it is still an ongoing project, could you share with us what’s next? Where are the next locations?
Yes, I am still working on the project but it is morphing as I continue. I am still shooting more of the same suit in pristine landscapes but I am also in the process of making a new suit which in a way is a polar twin of the suit in the first set. It is made out of dark mirrors and locations will significantly shift. In a way I see the Nomadic Reflector as a mobile sculpture in landscape The Nomadic Reflector project has also inspired me to go back to my roots and incorporate sculpture into my work. I’m excited about this new project that has a clear visual link to the Nomadic Reflector series. Imagine if Nomadic Reflector had visited a location and left a physical marker, that is where I am going with the new work.
Noah Webb is a photographer based in Los Angeles. You can see Noah’s award-winning work in PDN Annual 2015 and 2011, American Photography 2011 and 2009, and PDN Self Promo awards 2008 and 2007. Visit Noah’s website, Instagram, or profile to see more of his work here.