Alec Soth's photography is firmly rooted in the tradition of Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Stephen Shore. His depiction of the everyday confronts the ideals romanticized by American society; independence, freedom, religious devotion and individual expression. Through his 8 x 10 camera lens, Soth captures the extraordinary by exposing and utilizing the vernacular of the ordinary. The exhibition features a selection from Alec Soth's two acclaimed bodies of work Sleeping by the Mississippi and Niagara along with a selection of images from the series Dog Days, Bogotá, and his ongoing project, Portraits.
Sleeping by the Mississippi: Evolving from a series of road trips along the Mississippi River, Alec Soth captures America's iconic yet often neglected "Third Coast". Soth's richly descriptive, large format color photographs describe an eclectic mix of individuals, landscapes, and interiors. Sensuous in detail and raw in subject, this series evokes a consistent mood of loneliness, longing and reverie. Alec Soth (*1969) tackles topics such as illness, reproduction, race, crime, education, art, music, death, religion, salvation and politics.
Soth's pictures of Niagara are less about natural wonder than human desire. Working over the course of two years on both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls, Soth's richly detailed, and rigorously composed photographs depict newlyweds and naked lovers, motel parking lots and pawn shop wedding rings. Emphasizing various motifs associated with romance, he also includes a number of love letters from the subjects he photographed.
Dog Days, Bogotá: In 2002, Alec Soth traveled to Bogotá, Colombia to adopt a baby girl. While the courts processed paperwork, he and his wife spent two months in the capital city waiting to take their new baby home. Beauty makes itself known through ramshackle architecture, the companionship of animals, and the perseverance of the human spirit.
The exhibition has been organised by the Jeu de Paume, Paris, in collaboration with the Fotomuseum Winterthur. Curator: Marta Gili.
We are grateful to the Volkart Foundation for the support.
Alec Soth - Niagara. Edited by Alec Soth, Steidl, Göttingen, 2008. With texts by Philip Brookman and Richard Ford. Hardcover, 104 pages, 53 colored plates, format 28 x 32,5 cm. CHF 69.-
Alec Soth - Sleeping by the Mississippi. Steidl, Göttingen, 2004 (out of print)
Alec Soth: Dog Days, Bogotá, Steidl, Göttingen, 2007 (out of print)