The Alliance pub in North West London may not be the first place you’d expect to house a photographic collection but for travel enthusiasts and photography fans it’s worth the ten-minute walk from West Hampstead tube station. Here you can have a drink while imbibing a taste of Asia, with Patricia Webb’s collection of 39 photos – the product of four months travelling around India, Burma and Thailand – lining one of the pub’s walls.
An ex-ballet dancer with background in theatre and dance and festival production, Webb has been working as a photographer for a decade, specialising in travel and humanitarian photography. On her latest trip, Webb was primarily taking photos for FXB, an NGO which provides support, sanitation and funds for beneficiaries to work in India, for example in sewing, ironing, paper making, sanitary towel production, koir rope making, dried fish production and education. This meant she was granted access to places that most visitors don’t have and felt able to show “another side of India”.
She comments: “In the Indian villages, I was so humbled by the grace and dignity of people who have nothing and will offer hospitality. Women were wiping the sweat of my brow with their saris. It’s a cliché of course, but the truth is that I came home and realised how lucky I was to have been born where I was born as a woman, because as a woman I have choice and independence in marriage, sexuality and work.”
About Burma, Webb adds: “We were so lucky to go to Burma so early into its re-emergence into fledgling democracy, and to be able to meet people who were so enthusiastic about their new freedoms, about Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom and also very excited to see Europeans arriving in Burma.”
With 39 photos in the exhibition (with a limited print run of 50 per photograph, available for purchase), “Faces and Places’ runs until 21 December at The Alliance, 40-42 Mill Lane, London NW6 1NR.