STILBAAI NEWS - Members of various Facebook groups for the town are regularly left in awe of Richard Webb's beautiful photographs.
He seems to know exactly what to do with a camera to bring out the best in his subject. But who is this man?
There's a twinkle in his eyes when he asks about the reason for this question. Although he pops up everywhere like the proverbial bad penny, catching the unaware in front of his lens, he prefers being behind the spotlight.
He is however passionate about a couple of other things besides photography. Such as the sea, his family and military history.
He describes himself as born, schooled and molded in Johannesburg to a life of competition, challenge but also in many cases fun and adventure. He experienced his parents as people who were always curious. There was always something new to learn from them and that shaped his questioning nature, pushing him to challenge and query.
After finishing high school at East London Technical College, he completed a mechanical diploma at Wits Technicon. His first job was with Mobil Oil, where he stayed for 16 years. He then made a career change to IBM, which he describes as very significant in his life: "The time spent with them and then another seven years at the CSIR specializing in information technology, gave me sufficient knowledge and experience to start my own consulting business on workflow, systems and skills."
His interest in history finds expression in his philosophy that pictures tell stories: "For me, taking a photograph is about capturing a moment in history that cannot ever be recreated. Some people might dispute that, but no matter how hard one tries it can never be recreated. That moment is gone, that split second of activity, captured, is frozen on film or digital file. That photograph might just be a 'snap', a record of what the camera sees, or it could be capturing a segment of a story in a way that can be appreciated by a viewer of the photograph."
Unfortunately the camera does not only see happy things. Webb says waste makes him sad and angry: "So much that could have been shared with others simply get wasted."
His only regret in his personal life is that he did not spend more time with his family while chasing career interests. He's been married nearly 49 years now to his wife Jill, who he describes as his rock. They tell a story about an adventure that bound their lives together some years ago: "The defining event in our marriage was when Jill and I built a yacht which we sailed from Mozambique to Madagascar. Looking back on that adventure I define it as the glue that bound our destiny together." The couple has two sons and four grandsons, all of whom are living overseas. The older Webbs are enjoying Stilbaai and its people immensely: "If I had known Stilbaai earlier, it would have been my favourite holiday destination."
If he could give a younger Richard Webb any advice, he says he would have told him to listen more: "Learn from successful solutions, people and techniques. I did not have to always learn the hard way!"
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