Likening his process to “web surfing in the real world,” photographer Alec Soth spent the past 15 years traversing the U.S. with an 8×10 field camera, quietly composing narratives of subjects he finds on his travels. While projects have taken the Twin Cities native down the Mississippi, to Bogota and back across the vast Midwest, Soth’s career retrospective “From Here To There: Alec Soth’s America” falls closer to home at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center.
The photographer’s vision of the U.S. is a lonely portrait of the American road. Using a free-associative method, Soth links the runaways and vagabonds he often depicts by allowing one person’s story to lead to the next, in a style similar to Robert Frank and William Eggleston.
Stylistically, Soth’s use of the large-format camera captures exquisite details, documenting each of his subjects down to tattoos and paint-splattered clothes. The cumbersome camera takes time to set up, but arguably its this time he spends with each person that makes for the disarming intimacy of each image. While the feeling of displacement runs throughout the survey of his work, it’s clear he has given each of his subjects a home among each other.
“From Here To There: Alec Soth’s America” includes new works as well as previous projects and is up through through 16 January 2011.
Also on Cool Hunting: Fashion Magazine by Alec Soth