Category Archives: Alec Soth

Alec Soth

Photo News – Hotshoe magazine for contemporary photography Dec/Jan out now in print and as app

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Featuring: Leigh Ledare testing the boundaries of relationships, sex and love in Double Bind; Alinka Echeverria’s documentary on the birth of South Sudan; Diana Scherer‘s Nurture Studies; Asger Carlsen‘s Hester; and Fleur van Dodewaard in Crude Metaphors. Plus reviews of Alec Soth‘s Looking for Love, 1996, Klein + Moriyama at Tate Modern, and the Nikon D800. As well as, A.D. Coleman’s Letter from New York, a round up of the latest books, exhibition listings, news and more.

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Alan Spearman’s film of the streets of South Memphis ‘As I Am’, Viviane Sassen’s ode to her muse Roxane and a review of this year’s Paris Photo. Plus enriched portfolios, clickable exhibition listings and much, much more.

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Filed under: HotShoe magazine, iPad app, Photographers Tagged: Alec Soth, Alinka Echeverria, Asger Carlsen, Diana Scherer, Hotshoe App, Hotshoe App Edition, HotShoe magazine, Leigh Ledare

Looking For Love in 90′s by Alec Soth

Love makes people do strange things. The history of mankind is rife with love producing illogical and oddball behavior. When it comes to photography, falling in love with the medium is hardly an exception. For example, someone painfully shy might find themselves impulsively photographing strangers without asking for permission. Or, they instinctively photograph something without any ability to later explain why. Alec Soth’s newest book Looking for Love, 1996 is, in its way, about both—the search for love guided by the heart and the search of love guided by the eye.

Soth, a Minnesota native, came to national attention in 2004 after his project Sleeping by the Mississippi was featured at the Whitney museum during its Biennial exhibition and consequently released in book form by the prestigious German publisher Steidl to critical acclaim. Rapidly thrust into the worlds of art and commerce he followed up his debut with equally strong and provocative bookworks: Niagara (2006), Dog Days Bogota (2007) and Broken Manual (2010). Looking for Love, 1996 (Kominek Books, 2012) is a look to the past at his early beginnings as a photographer working with black and white film and a medium format camera.

In his brief introduction to the work Soth describes that time as one of working a miserable job (printing photos at a large commercial lab) and retreating to a bar to be comforted by “the solitude I found among strangers.” He began to concentrate on his own pictures, slyly using the lab to make prints which he smuggled, concealed under his jeans, out to his car. He writes of imagining one day “a stranger would fall in love with me.”

The first photographs of couples we encounter in Looking for Love cling possessively to their partners and leer at Soth’s camera as if to ask, “this is mine, where is yours?” While his journey takes us through the outside landscape and various social gatherings—the aforementioned bar; a convention hall that seems to bridge religion, spirituality and dating under one roof; poker games; singles parties; high school proms—we can sense a young photographer eager to hone his photographic instincts for metaphor and craving the fruits of collaboration between artist, medium and world. A photo of a flirtatious blonde cheerleader sits on the opposite page of a lone, slightly gothic teen outside a music club. The prom king and queen stand proudly before an auditorium empty but for a few hidden background observers and a basketball court scoreboard. An older man sits phone to ear at a ‘Psychic Friends Network’ booth while a quaffed blonde with a #1 ribbon pinned to her lapel passes by paying no mind. Alongside the underlying melancholy of some of these pictures is also the excitement of a photographer discovering their talent and seeing an affirmation of life stilled in photographs.

That affirmation makes the parting photograph all the more important. In it we see Soth himself sitting sprawl-legged in a rental tuxedo as if his own prom has just ended. Perhaps it had. I hope the love he may have found, lasts.

Looking for Love, 1996 is available from Kominek Books.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions.

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

  • LightBox presents an essay written by Tim Hetherington, who was featured in Aperture issue 204, from the new book Photographs Not Taken, one year after the photographer’s death in Libya. The collection, compiled by Will Steacy (one of Aperture’s Green Cart Commissioned photographers), also features essays by Roger Ballen, Ed Kashi, Mary Ellen MarkAlec SothPeter van Agtmael and more. Additionally, PDN features an 8 image retrospective by Hetherington, whose work is now on view at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York (through May 12, 2012).
  • This week in commentary: LPV Magazine  digests Instagram articles by Om Malik, the New Yorker’s Ian Crouch and New York Magazine’s Paul Ford, finds out, “Facebook Buys Instagram, Some Photographers Sad.” APhotoEditor reads Paul Melcher‘s poignant article on La Lettre de La Photographie alongside Marc Andreessen‘s WSJ piece “Software Will Eat The World,” and explores “how a company with 13 employees and no profits [Instagram] can replace a now bankrupt company [Kodak] that once employed over 120,000 people with annual sales of $10 billion as the ‘manufacturer’ of a device to bring photography to the masses.” In related news, NPPA opens a mobile phone photo contest, calling for entries through Sunday, April 22, 2012, while Magnum Photos has deployed another team to Rochester to document the once-vibrant home of Kodak as part of their Postcards From America series.
  • Poynter investigates the controversy over the Pentagon delaying the LA Times from publishing photographs of US soldiers posing with the body parts of Afghan corpses, a story which has since elicited over 2000 comments on the Times’ website.
  • Sophie Calle, featured in Aperture issues 191 and 142, talks to the Guardian about her best shot from the series Voir La Mer, in which she “took 15 people of all ages, from kids to one man in his 80s, to see [the sea] for the first time.” She photographed them from behind so as to not obstruct their initial encounter, and she captured the entire process, including their reactions, on video. Her current exhibition, Historias de Pared (at Museo de Arte Moderno Medellín through June 3, 2012) is reviewed on Fototazo.
  • In honor of Albert Hoffman’s infamous Bicycle Day (April 19), LIFE Magazine shares a number of never-before-published dream-like photographs that were to accompany an original 1966 article titled, “New Experience That Bombards the Senses: LSD Art.”
  • American Suburb X shares journal entries from William Gedney on “Kentucky, Sex and Diane Arbus,” alongside scans of the archival material culled from the Duke University Rare Books and Manuscript Library.  Speaking of rare books, ICP Library profiles some of the innovative and experimental photobooks they found and photographed at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair last week.
  • Time Magazine releases their annual list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World,” alongside a portrait gallery of 24 of the honorees.  Included this year is artist Christian Marclay, of the monumental video installation recently purchased by MoMA, The Clock, and the 2007 Aperture monograph Shuffle, which takes the form of a deck of cards. The Clock will be shown for free this summer from the middle of July to mid-August at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium. Stake out your places now!

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

  • Time magazine’s Lightbox features Manish Swarup’s photograph of a Tibetan exile self-immolating during a demonstration in New Delhi in their Pictures of the Week, reminding of Malcolm Brown’s iconic image of a Buddhist monk who set himself aflame in protest in 1963, and the photojournalistic ethical issues that go with it.
  • Conscientious explores the challenges of still portraiture and points to a new study published by the British Psychology Society which finds that “the same people are rated as more attractive in videos than in static images taken from those videos.”
  • NPR’s The Picture Show features “A Lifetime of Photos in a Little Email Retrospective,” images by “somewhat hermetic” Dennis Darling who relishes “staying under most radar” and rarely publishes or exhibits his work for other than those on his small email chain.
  • The New Yorker‘s Photobooth commemorates Edward Steichen’s would-be 130th birthday with a slideshow of the seminal photographer’s images published in their magazine across the years.  Several limited edition prints from his early work are available at Aperture.
  • “Taking a photograph is a response… it’s a pre-rational response, it’s an intuitive emotional response, it’s spontaneous, it’s immediate,” says Alex Webb of The Suffering of Light in Part 4 of 6 of the Q&A  session with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb by David Chickey of Radius Books at The National Museum Of Singapore on March 9, 2012, now all posted on Invisible Photographer Asia.
  • APhotoEditor suggests, “Perhaps Most Photographers Don’t Understand the Value of Usage,” posting a reader-submitted story in which an “ex-student lied about having [her] permission and gave the image to the college, which then used the image on a billboard advertisement that wraps around a 20 story building on a very busy road in the city.” How was this resolved and did she get paid?
  • Ansel AdamsHenri Cartier BressonRobert FrankStephen ShoreNan GoldinWilliam EgglestonAlec SothDiane Arbus are all photographers you should… IGNORE? That’s according to Bryan Formhals’ brash OpEd piece on LPV Magazine “10 Oeuvres Aspiring Photographers Should Ignore.”  Wired and the Click got a kick out of the post, which was inspired by “The 10 Most Harmful Novels for Aspiring Writers.” We think self-willed ignorance is more harmful than knowing one’s precedents and counter with this oldie but goodie: those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Postcards From America: The Box Set

In May 2011, Magnum photographers Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, Paolo Pellegrin, Alec Soth and Mikhael Subotzky, as well as writer Ginger Strand, set out from Austin, Texas in an RV. Two weeks and 1750 miles later, they arrived in Oakland, Calif.

Together, they documented their experience, the result of which is a new, limited edition book that launches this week. Postcards from America is a collection of objects: a book, five bumper stickers, a newspaper, two fold-outs, three cards, a poster and five zines, all in a signed and numbered box.

“We knew each other through Magnum, obviously, but we’d never actually tried to work together,” says Soth. “We wanted to see what that would be like, to see if we could create a kind of polyphonic sound. Hopefully the box book achieves that. It also gave us an opportunity to push each other creatively and conceptually, which I think has carried over into our individual work.”

The book does not attempt to document the American Southwest in y traditional sense. Instead, it uses the prototypically western experience of a road trip as an entry point into depicting the region. “Some of us are used to working only on immersive, multiyear projects,” says Subotzky. “Obviously this was very different. Doing it collectively brought a great energy and looseness to the work. The box, with all its moving and arrangeable pieces, really reflects that and reflects what we found on the road—a divided and often contradictory society, unsure about its identity and future.”

The Postcards from America box book, in a signed edition of 500, is available exclusively at www.postcards.magnumphotos.com 

The second Postcards from America project is scheduled to begin this April in Rochester, New York.

To read more about the project background on Lightbox click here. To read a dispatch from the project click here.

Kick off 2012 and Visit New Exhibitions

New Year, 2010, © Jowhara AlSaud

Kicking off the 2012 art season, check out highlights on view throughout New York! See below for some of our favorite Aperture artists and galleries.

New Photographers at Dazinger Gallery, January 12–February 25, introducing five emerging photographers unlinked to one another through content but brought together for their first time exhibiting in New York City. Featured photographer Tereza Vlčkovà from Aperture’s groundbreaking book, reGeneration 2: tomorrow’s photographers today.

Silverstein Annual at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, January 14–February 25, offers exposure to ten up-and-coming photographers who have been chosen by ten prominent curators, including Nelli Palomaki, reGeneration 2 artist. View her limited edition prints available through Aperture.

Penetration at Foley Gallery, January 12–March 3, recreates the photographic image with five artists who interrupt the common photographic process. Portfolio Prize 2008 Runner-Up Jowhara AlSaud’s portraits of faceless figures, inspired by censorship, are personal photographs made into drawings etched on the surface of a negative, view her limited edition prints here. Pushing the capabilities of photographic paper itself, Marco Breuer scratches and scrapes the light-sensitive paper making conceptual, abstract imagery. See Breuer’s limited edition book by Aperture Early Recordings and Untitled 2007 and the highly acclaimed compilation The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography, he was also featured in Aperture magazine issue 172.

Joel Sternfeld: First Pictures at Luhring Augustine, January 6–February 4, displays a selection of Joel Sternfeld’s earliest photographs, taken between 1971 and 1980, documenting his travels across America through vibrant colors twined with wit and satire.

Visions: Tim Hetherington at Bronx Documentary Center, through January 22, is the inaugural exhibit featuring photography and multimedia work produced by photojournalist Tim Hetherington who was killed in April of 2011 as he covered Libya’s revolution.

First Look at Yossi Milo Gallery, January 26–February 18, is the inaugural exhibition at the new gallery space located at 245 Tenth Avenue. The photographers included all had their first solo New York City exhibition presented by the Yossi Milo Gallery. These artists include Robert Bergman, Mohamed Bourouissa, Pieter Hugo, Simen Johan, Sze Tsung Leong, Loretta Lux, Yuki Onodera, Muzi Quawson, Mark Ruwedel, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Lise Sarfati, Alec Soth, Kohei Yoshiyuki and Liu Zheng. A celebration will be held in honor of these photographers on February 16 from 6:00–8:00 pm.

TIME’s Best of 2011: The Photobooks We Loved

This year we continued to see the rise of tablet computers and digital publishing, and we even wrote about a few digital books on Lightbox like Stephen Shames’ Bronx Boys.  But elsewhere in photography, artists were working on photobooks for those viewers who may have wanted something a bit more lasting, a bit more tangible.

Here LightBox spotlights some of the best photobooks of the year as chosen by a group of photographers and photography experts from around around the world…. and of course a few from the photo editors of TIME.  From the selection one can see the art of the photobook continues to flourish in all genres from reportage to fine art photography, fashion and everything in between. This year’s books range from luxurious tomes like Catherine Opie and Alec Soth’s collaboration for Rodarte to smaller precious books like Fred Hunning’s Drei. Overall the selection shows that even as masses of information come at us from all our digital devices, people still enjoy a singular vision and the process of sitting down with a good book—especially one that pushes the boundaries of the format. Herewith, the photobooks we loved the most in 2011.