Adroitly navigating the disciplines of editorial photography and fine art work, Alec Soth has emerged as a leading American artist. He is an associate photographer with the famed Magnum Photos group, and has shown his work in galleries and museums in the United States and in Europe.
Born and based in Minneapolis and educated in New York, Soth first attracted critical notice with his series Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004). Since then, he has published NIAGARA (2006), Fashion Magazine (2007), and Dog Days, Bogotá (2007). Unlike many contemporary photographers, Soth works with a large-format 8 x 10-inch camera, which, given the time involved in setting up for a photograph, creates an intense relationship between the artist and subject. Soth sees this as the crux of his work.
For this exhibition, we have chosen a selection of his portraits of women, drawn from past editorial work and fine arts projects, including three portraits from Fashion Magazine, which explored the world of Paris couture and countered those images with subjects from Soth’s Minnesota home. As he notes, “I’m trying to come to terms with how I honestly see and depict women. Are my pictures romanticized? Sexualized? Why do I see women in this way? For me, photography is as much about the way I respond to the subject as it is about the subject itself.”
Soth photographed this subject in New Orleans while making work subsequently published in Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004).
This full-length portrait was created during the winter of 2007, after Soth’s return from Paris, where he made the first photographs for his commission from Magnum Photos that resulted in Fashion Magazine. Fashion Magazine is the third in a series of projects by the same name, in which Magnum asks one photographer to document the whirl of fashion week in Paris from his or her own point of view.
Florence is a Parisian model. She is represented in Fashion Magazine by two images—this one, showing her before putting on makeup and designer clothing, and another, ready for the runway, but situated in the same rumpled bedding.
This photograph was taken as part of an editorial project for W magazine, but it was ultimately not published.
Misty was photographed as part of Soth’s NIAGARA project.
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