The latest episode of NOWNESS’ Photographers in Focus series centres on acclaimed American photographer Alec Soth
NOWNESS’ ongoing film series Photographers in Focus allows viewers unique insight into the working processes of some of today’s greatest image-makers. The latest episode provides access to the world of Alec Soth, coinciding with an online course that the photographer is teaching with Magnum Photos.
Filmmaker Joppe Rog travelled with Soth in his home state of Minnesota, discussing his career so far and how his approach to photography has evolved since his first major project, the widely acclaimed Sleeping by the Mississippi. “Every large-scale project that I’ve done has been driven by some sort of internal need. It’s come out of the place that I’ve been at that particular time in my life,” Soth explains in the film. “Sleeping by the Mississippi came out of this desire to wander, to break free. My second project, Niagara, came out of an exploration of love and long-term relationships and commitment. My third project, Broken Manual, I always call my ‘mid-life crisis project’, I was exploring the approach of middle age as a man.”
Soth’s most recent book, a collection of 35 portraits taken in his subjects’ homes entitled I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating, was released last year. “I wanted there to be this openness and lightness that I was feeling, and to have plenty of space for the pictures, but also not a lot of pictures... I wanted air,” he told AnOther at the time.
For Photographers in Focus, Soth describes how failure has been instrumental throughout his career – “it’s important to allow yourself to fail,” he says – and how he grapples with being a photographer, noting that it’s hard to know whether ultimately it is “the experience or the picture” that is more precious. Watch the film below.