Boyd Webb (British, b.1947) is a photographer who is best known for his large scale Surreal-like cibachormes. Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, he attended the Ilam School of Art from 1968 to 1971. He then traveled to London in 1972 to study at the Royal College of Art. After graduating in 1975, Webb settled in London, where he had his first solo show a year later at the Robert Self Gallery.
Trained in sculpture, Webb’s earliest works consisted of installation pieces of life-size fiberglass casts of people arranged in a scene. He quickly turned to photography; he developed his own bizarre, artificial style in the 1980s. Webb’s photographs are constructed scenes he creates by building sets in his studio and using actors for theatricality. The sets are artificial looking, but the people in them are real; he consistently plays with the idea of the real and the imagined.
In his early photographs, Webb reveals the relationship of man and nature through allegorical references of humanity, and man’s disregard and manipulation of nature, as seen in his work Tethered Ray (1981). In the 1990s, Webb turned his focus to a more scientific subject matter: exploring the biology of genetic engineering, disease, and reproduction. The work entitled Donor (1994) shows a school of sperm-like objects traveling through colored cellular tubing. In these “scientific works,” it is hard to tell how he photographed the images and whether he used real specimens or constructed them by using man-made material. In the early 2000s, Webb produced his Botanics series, which includes close-ups of silk flowers that the artist retouched with color and placed in front of a monochrome background. The series was inspired by Charles Baudelair’s poem “Les Fleurs du mal” (Flowers of Evil), which is about the attraction to the deadly. The series alludes to the destruction of nature at the hands of humankind. Webb has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand, Europe, and America. In 1995, he represented New Zealand at the Sydney Biennale. He currently lives and works in Brighton, England.