Sleeping by the Mississippi.
Photographs by Alec Soth. Text by Anne Wilkes Tucker and Patricia Hampl.
Steidl, Gottingen, 2004. 120 pp., 46 color illustrations, 11½x11".
One of the hottest artists of this years' Whitney Biennial,
Alec Soth continues to garner ever-increasing attention.
The most recent issue of Blind Spot magazine (cat#
MZ168S) features "Charles, Vasa, Minnesota" by Soth on
the cover, and he was awarded the Review Santa Fe's
Prize for Photography in 2003 for the same body of work.
The title, Sleeping by the Mississippi, alludes to the recurrence
of beds, a symbol found throughout Soth's work. As
he makes his way South along the Mississippi River, Soth
show us the bed used by a young Charles Lindberg, photographed
at his childhood home in Little Falls, Minnesota.
We see the Reverend and Margaret's bedroom, plastered
with snapshots, in Vicksburg, and Sunshine, a smug grin
on her face, leaning back on what appears to be a hotel
bed in Memphis. If anything at all, this is a group of images
about place and their inhabitants. There is no story, per se,
but rather a series of unconnected dots, placed before the
viewer humbly and unapologetically. Soth's working
method is meticulous and methodical, as dictated by the
8x10" view camera he uses, and this reflects an inner
methodology based in quiet, steady human relationships,
abundantly evident here.
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