Alec Soth is a photographer of loners and dreamers, who creates stills that tells their own touching stories. He is an artist who got recognition in Brighton with the collaboration of his seven-year-old daughter. In addition, he is a distinguished photographer who captures innovative images of strangers to the landscapes of United States. Alec Soth was born in 1969, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received a Bachelor of Art degree from Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York. He was awarded with McKnight Photography Fellowship in 1999, 2004 and 2013.
At first, Soth planned to study staged photography but all those enacted scenes in stage photography made him settle on to photograph people. He was inspired by the work of Diane Arbus. He first won worldwide artist recognition in 2004 with the publication of Sleeping by Mississippi; a self printed book by Soth. The book comprises of beautiful portrays of landscapes and interiors while road trips along the Mississippi river. The shots depict a feeling of neglect and isolation. In the same year, curators put up a show for Soth.
In 2006, Alec Soth came up with another brilliant series, Niagara. He shot brilliant stills of the Niagara Falls. These stills are atypical portrayals of the water and the people around it. It a beautiful illustration of blossoming love and broken hearts, suicides and honeymoons, rings and love letters.
Following up was a publication in 2007, entitled Fashion Magazine. Soth covered the third edition of this magazine by working in Jeu de Paume in Paris and soon it became a collector’s item. According to Alec Soth, it was his excuse to work with fashion. Same year he produced Dog Days, Bogotá. This book has a series of stills that represent a feeling of companionship and hope. As Soth photographed the city of his adopted daughter, he supported the point that beauty can be found anywhere.
In 2008, Soth produced another photographic book, The Last Days of W. It took Soth eight years to shoot the stills for this series from Texas, California, Alaska, Minnesota and other places around United States. This book is an illustration of a country facing a failed leadership crisis. He as the aftermath of George W. Bush’s presidency portrayed the images of mothers’ of soldiers fighting in Iraq and the depicted social crisis. In the same year, Soth became a member of Magnum Photos agency. He has also been photographing for The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek and Fortune.
Alec Soth founded Little Brown Mushroom, his own publishing company in 2010. When he travelled to Heathrow, United Kingdom, with his family, he was not permitted to shoot stills. Yet his seven-year-old daughter Carmen, while visiting places with him captured over 2000 photos. These photos were edited and shown at Brighton Photo Biennial. Later, Soth created, From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America. This book covers the exceptional work by Soth in the past decade.
He has been awarded with various prizes and fellowships. Among which are, Minnesota State Arts Board (2001), Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2006), Golden Light Book Award (2006), PhotoVision Award (2008) and Guggenheim Fellowship (2013).
In an interview, Soth shared that he is known for perspiring while he photographs strangers. He is quite uncomfortable then unlike when he shoots stills for landscapes where he can enjoys a solitary feeling. Alec Soth’s collection is displayed at various galleries and museums that include, Brooklyn Museums of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art(SFMOMA), the Walk Art Centre and Whitney Museum of American Art.
Alec Soth, La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Hardcover, 23x28 cm, 52 pages | Punctum Press | 978-88-95410-31-9
Designed and made by Nicola Veccia Scavalli