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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Soth: Niagara

One of my "new favorite photographers" is Alec Soth. I really don't know anything about him; I saw a few wonderful photographs of dogs and that was enough to put him in a special category. I've picked up a few more bits of information about him here and there, but at the moment I don't really want to know a whole lot more. I don't want to see all the work at once, don't want to know all there is to know. I want to keep encountering the work here and there, maybe imagining that there is more of it than there is.

A sustained encounter in this respect is the Magnum in Motion presentation of Soth's new Niagara work. Curiously, there's a connection to next Tuesday's #9 picture in my T.O.P. ten. (I didn't know that when I picked it.)

Watch out for the unfortunate hyper-saturation in the Magnum show. But a slide show with the artist's voiceover is a nice way to encounter pictures. Being able to experience a little home version of that is one of the felicities of the web.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting how a group of related (or sometimes even unrelated) photographs, none of which is memorable, or even very good, can be combined to form an interesting and cohesive viewpoint. Good editing is required, (something that most photographers don't do well), and as in this instance, narration or text solidifies the presentation.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soth is one of the four photographers nominated for The Deutsche Börse prize at The Photograhpers' Gallery in London at present. I have to say for me, he deserves to win. His large prints have a luminous almost lightbox-feel to them, and his photos were by far the most engaging.

4:50 AM  
Blogger gringoninjo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mike. It's a good thing you qualified your appreciating of Soth with a desire to discover his work at a more human pace. I could have all too easily littered this space with meticulous praise. I discovered his work in January and am very grateful for it. I'm quite certain his work will overshadow, and outlast, the hype - humanists invariably do.

Really enjoy your site.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Dave New said...

Interesting that I chose Niagra as my first place to try out my new DSLR toy (a Digital Rebel) a few weeks after I got it.

In particular, I sweated long and hard over a long-exposure night shot of the American falls taken from the Canada side. I have been unable to make what I thought was a faithful print of the RAW capture I have.

The shot has an outrageous amount of dynamic range and shadow detail, and I've never been satisfied with the way various RAW converters have treated the shadows, in particular (causing nasty color shifts, or postering the shadows, etc.).

Having seen Soth's Niagra work, though, makes me want to haul out the ol' RAW files and give it another try. It's kind of like that loose molar when you were a kid -- you just have to keep poking at it and wiggling it until something happens.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interview with Soth can be found here:

Spot the strong influences but I do like his work.

Warning: the interview is very slow to download if you have a dial up account.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Nic said...

That was a great essay.The narration made the difference for me, and what a difference.

Also, thanks for the link to the Magnum in Motion site. I didn't know of it, and it's amazing.

10:11 AM  
Blogger kathleen fonseca said...

I have enjoyed Alec Soth's work for some time, especially his Bogota series that hit me between the eyes like a hot tropical "wow" blast. But one thing's for sure..he doesn't get these shots with a compact digi-cam. Besides his heart, soul and brain, he's using large format and he's using, better sit down for this guys, FILM! (another must-see is Jem Southam..he REALLY gets my motor running)

11:59 PM  

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