Photographer Alec Soth, known for focusing his attention, and large-format camera, on the landscapes and citizens that lie in the outskirts of modern society, will speak at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film on Thursday, April 26, as the final offering in the school’s annual Visiting Artists Series.
After a reception beginning at 6 p.m., Soth will discuss his career and creative process at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater. The event is free and the public is invited.
Featured in 2004’s Whitney Biennial and a full member of the Magnum Photos cooperative, Alec Soth is one of America’s preeminent contemporary photographers, recognized for adroitly navigating the disciplines of editorial photography and fine art work. A 2009 New York Times article observed that he has made a “photographic career out of finding chemistry with strangers.” His equipment of choice is a large-format camera that captures the image onto eight-by ten-inch negatives (significantly larger than a standard thirty-five millimeter negative), which allows him to capture the tiniest of details with stunning precision. Offering a detailed look into the scarcely examined, Soth’s poetic images are full of intelligible signifiers, giving the viewer more to contemplate and discover.
An alumnus of Sarah Lawrence College, Soth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he likes “to take pictures and make books,” often through Little Brown Mushroom, the publishing house he founded in 2008. His latest body of work, Broken Manual, documents and examines men who leave behind their peers and culture to start anew in seclusion.
About the Artist
Born and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Alec Soth (rhymes with “both”) is a photographer whose work is rooted in the distinctly American tradition of ‘on-the-road photography’ developed by Walker Evans, Robert Frank and Stephen Shore. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, he is the recipient of several major fellowships from the Bush, McKnight, and Jerome Foundations and was awarded the 2003 Santa Fe Prize for Photography. Soth’s work is represented in major public and private collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. His photographs have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney and São Paulo Biennials. In 2008, a large survey exhibition of his work was exhibited at Jeu de Paume in Paris and Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland.
In 2010, Walker Art produced a large survey exhibition of Soth’s work entitled From Here to There. Alec Soth’s first monograph, Sleeping by the Mississippi, was published by Steidl in 2004 to critical acclaim. Since then he has published NIAGARA (2006), Fashion Magazine (2007) Dog Days, Bogotá (2007), The Last Days of W (2008), and Broken Manual (2010). In 2008, he launched the publishing company Little Brown Mushroom (littlebrownmushroom.com). Soth is represented by Sean Kelly in New York, Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis, and is a member of Magnum Photos, the international photographic cooperative.
(At right: Charles, Vasa, Minnesota, 2002.)
The Watkins Visiting Artists Series is an annual yearlong program that welcomes nationally and internationally recognized fine artists, designers, filmmakers, educators and critics to the campus and the community. Through the generous support of the Memorial Foundation, this year’s series expands last year’s 125th anniversary series of three lectures by presenting four lectures in the Watkins Theater plus an exhibition in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery.
The series kicked off in November with Mexican printmaker Artemio Rodriguez, followed by filmmaker Natalia Almada (January) and photographer David Hilliard (February), who opened the Visiting Artist Exhibition – “Highway of Thought” – in the Currey Gallery. [The scheduled March appearance of interdisciplinary artist Harrell Fletcher was postponed until September.]
Updates to programming and future series guests will be posted to the Watkins website: Watkins.edu/VisitingArtistsSeries.
Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, visit Watkins.edu or call 615-383-4848.
The Watkins Visiting Artists Series is made possible through a grant from the Memorial Foundation and is sponsored in part by Marché Artisan Foods.