“We want you to bring to this session an image or a body of work that has affected the way that you think about your photographic practice or current project work in a meaningful way. It may be a single image, exhibition, an online portfolio, photographic book or film – but it needs to be a work of significance for you.”
All images courtesy of Alec Soth, featuring works from various projects. Displayed at The Science Museum, London until 26.03.16.
Whilst visiting London last year as an extracurricular Photography trip, we visited The Science Museum to see the Alec Soth exhibition. It presented his four signature series – Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), Niagara (2006), Broken Manual (2010) and the most recent, Songbook (2014). It highlighted his remarkable career and distinctive vision.
Prior to this, photography had always been somewhat of an enigma to me. I had never quite grasped the mystery and power that photography possesses, and it was truly liberating to encounter an exhibition that in every way, just clicked and resonated with me. I am not sure what struck me first; the imagery itself or the sheer scale in which they were printed. I felt physically enticed to explore each and every photograph with equal respect, care and attention, and I relished every moment of it. It was like being a small child again in Bournville’s chocolate factory, which is located in none other than the post- industrial city of Birmingham.
It took me a couple of trips around the entire exhibition to absorb the visual information in its entirety, but even then I did not feel completely satisfied. The only thing preventing a third viewing was the threat of being evicted from the near-closing museum. In the space of just over ten years, Soth seemed to have produced a vast ranging, and highly skilled oeuvre. One image that significantly ‘drew me in’ was the portrait of Misty, from the series Niagra.
Further reading: BJP Online – Alec Soth’s first solo exhibition.