Sleeping by the Mississippi.
Photography by Alec Soth; text by Patricia Hampl, Anne Wilkes Tucker.
Steidl, 2008. 120 pp., 46 color illustrations., 11x10¾".
Now in its third edition
"It's hard to believe that the first edition of Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi appeared only in 2004, so
swiftly has the book become a classic of our time. Evolving from a series of road trips along the Mississippi
River, Sleeping by the Mississippi captures America’s iconic yet oft-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, his book elicits a consistent mood of loneliness, longing and reverie.
“In the book’s 46 ruthlessly edited pictures,”writes AnneWilkes Tucker,“Soth alludes to illness, procreation,
race, crime, learning, art,music, death, religion, redemption, politics, and cheap sex... The coherence of the
project places Soth’s book exactly within the tradition ofWalker Evans’ American Photographs and Robert
Frank’s The Americans.” Like Frank’s classic book, Sleeping by the Mississippi merges a documentary style
with a poetic sensibility. The Mississippi River is less the subject of the book than its organizing structure.
Not bound by a rigid concept or ideology, the series is created from a quintessentially American spirit of
wanderlust. Featuring a new linen-bound cover with a
tipped-on image, this is the third print run of a volume
which has become one of the most widely collected
and highly acclaimed photo books of recent times."-the publisher
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