"In the book's forty-six ruthlessly edited pictures, Soth alludes to illness, procreation, race, crime, learning, art, music, death, religion, redemption, politics, and cheap sex."
All of this, yet there is even more!
These exquisite large format photographs, saturated with color and crisp banal detail, also reveal the dreams of their river-hugging inhabitants (both current and departed). Those dreams and hopes (no matter how seemingly insignificant or sad) are what I think Soth has captured so eloquently.
During a visit to San Francisco in July, Soth said, "I believe that photography is essentially non-narrative. That, while it aches to tell stories, it doesn't really tell stories that have a beginning, middle and end. This has constantly frustrated me about the medium, and I've been constantly battling it. What I've come up with, is that when I'm looking at a photographer's work, I'm looking as much at that person's experience as a photographer in the world, almost as if they are a first-person narrator, as I'm looking at the subjects of the photographs."
One has to wonder what internal dreams motivated Soth to document these particularly unlikely stopping places all the way from the icy north Mississippi river to the hot and sultry south.
— Jim Casper
Sleeping by the Mississippi
by Alec Soth
With Patricia Hampl, Anne Wilkes Tucker
Hardcover, 120 pages
11 x 11.3 inches
Steidl Publishing (1st edition 2004, 3rd edition 2008)
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