“I fell in love with the process of taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. To me it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance.” – Alec Soth
This photo, "House At Night" is one of many, belonging to Alec Soth's Project: Broken Manual. The collection focuses on the idea of escaping from the oppressive societal norms to a place where they no longer exist. As stated by Soth, Broken Manual is "...Exploration on the idea of wanting to runaway, wanting to disappear. In the end, and I saw this happen over and over again to people I met, you need other people, and there's always some connection to society."
Kristin from Alec Soth's Project: Paris/Minnesota
Alec Soth is a Fine Art Photographer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Much of his photography consists of works capturing the American Lifestyle and seeking beauty in things that aren’t typically seen as beautiful. Through his photography he captures the emotion in whatever the theme of his project is, through the use of inanimate objects and location as well as everyday individuals. Going into a project, he doesn’t always know what he is going to create through his medium until he starts taking some pictures and recognizes a theme within them. His work is more than attention grabbing photos, but rather it’s an Art with a message. In most of his work there’s an underlying message or idea, and an awareness of the human condition, as well as the power society has on it.
Kaskaskia, Illinois 2002 from Alec Soth's Project: Sleeping by the Mississippi
I find Soth’s work to be beautiful and quite intriguing. Having an interest in Photography, I find Soth to be truly inspirational. He started out just taking photos for himself, as well as enjoying the process of making books that compiled some of his various work, and then going more professional when he began to get a response to his work. His approach to photography is not just to catch someone’s attention, but also to create something artistically and subtly beautiful, for example a collection of movie theaters in Texas he photographed, which probably aren’t usually paid much attention. His style and subject matter is appealing to me because they are often of things that would catch my eye as well. It’s cool to see someone sharing works that display such ordinary, natural and dilapidated subjects that most people view with indifference. Its subjects like the ones captured in Soth’s work that hold an unrevealed beauty.
Niagra from Alec Soth's Project: Niagra
When you think of Art, what do you think of?
I’ll be honest with you, what first comes to my mind is Painting and Drawing, and I’m sure if you approached someone on the street, they’d have a similar answer, and thus begins my point. In our modern world, it has expanded from that typical idea of Art. We have experienced many technological advances in our world that have expanded our artistic abilities, as well as scientific and mathematical abilities on a universal level. When it comes to what are called Fine Arts, the process of making a piece of work like a painting is so incomparable, and each artist has a different idea and view on how they execute their work and the style in which they do so. With Digital Art exists the idea of Manipulation that is more easily done with digital works than those works that fall into the category of Fine Arts. With programs such as Photoshop, the artist can easily manipulate a normal picture into something so abstract you wouldn’t recognize it’s original version and at the same time, you can have two different pieces – the original photograph and the edited abstract piece. In the music world, a musician can make an acoustic track and take the audio file into a program and mechanically add in various forms of percussion or appropriate accompaniment. In the visual media world, we have many magnificent animators who create characters and settings through the use of computer programs, and create frame after frame to bring their cartoon-like characters to life. With Digital Art, there are many levels and forms just like there are various genres of Fine Arts.
With such possibilities as these, come those who deny its place in the Art world, claiming a disconnection from human ability. In my opinion, I find this to be false because just like an artist can leave their mark on a painting, they can leave a digital mark as well. It won’t necessarily be through the type of brush strokes they use or the way in which they create forms but rather in the ideas they have to transform a digital piece. No one thinks exactly the same; therefore no one can have an identical idea, which they will approach their digital masterpiece with. Granted there will be copycats who try to claim the approach as their own, but there does exist originality in digital pieces or Visual Art, Visual Media, Music, etc. It’s more than process; it’s a formula of creativity and innovation but also combined with aspects of science and math to achieve something remarkable.