on November 1, 2010
This is the catalog to Soth's Walker retrospective.
It has a fairly radical design cover, (which I kind of like) and a heavy designers hand throughout. Why? - well it strikes me that Mr Soths embrace of design novelty in this and the preceding book 'Broken Manual' is a clear attempt to shake things up for himself, and break out of the 'Son-of-Sternfeld' role that he occupied, with all those nicely printed Steidl photo-books done with his 8x10" camera. In some ways good for him to try this breakout, in others its a shame to see someone forcing good photography into hollowed out books, or using faux identities - is Lester B Morrison for real? - to stoke up some interest in the work, or at least the atmosphere of hip irreverence. Surely better to have powerful new work do the convincing?
On the whole it's a good catalog, that's worth getting. Soth is definitely a hard working and sincere photographer, and there's some smart texts by interesting writers, marred only by persnickety little blog entries e.g. bitching about photo-books with America/American in the title, but then, my goodness - this book is sub-titled "Alec Soth's America" - right there on the cover. Sweet irony.
on December 21, 2010
If you are an Alec Soth fan who already has all of his books like I do this is still recommended buy. For new fans, this is a great place to start. This covers all of his bodies of work with a generous sampling of images and includes images from early work I haven't seen published before and newer work as well. For me the purpose of a greatest hits collection is just that: to give you a wide overview of an artist's work. A best-of collection can't replace each individual monograph, but it provides a nice sampling and gives you a few extra items for the long time fans. This is well-produced, good printing, solid binding. The cover is design-heavy for a photo book, normally you would expect a simple type treatment with large photo, but what I like is that it gives a sense of Soth's personality. And it is his personality and unique vision that make his photos enjoyable.
on January 22, 2011
Alec Soth is one of the brightest lights on the photography scene today. This book is an essential accompaniment to his work and sheds light on his thought process and direction. In addition to having lots of satisfying images from different bodies of work, it has thoughts, blog posts, and essays that really add value and entertain. It is a very contemporary take on the old monograph and immensely satisfying and fun.
on April 3, 2014
Alec Soth has an effortless relationship to photography. He can pull images from anywhere, a kind of lens based savant. With photography being so crowded by genres, it is amazing to see someone create a spectrum of images without being conscripted to a single approach. He also has an uncanny ability to make visible the aberrations, and decline, of contemporary life. This publication is an excellent overview of his work.