Born in 1969, American Alec SOTH hails from Minneapolis, a city that geographically marks the northernmost point of the Mississippi River basin. Traveling south from there, he sought subjects beyond the big cities and industrial centers. For the series 'Sleeping in Mississippi', the Magnum photographer focused on the unpretentious and tried to capture the character of the riverside areas. Bizarre and enigmatic appear not only the inhabitants, but also the landscapes. Loneliness, religion, crime and prostitution are recurring motifs. Criticism is not boldly put into the picture, but is only perceptible at second glance in the painterly compositions. Alec SOTH's photobook debut, 'Sleeping by the Mississippi', became one of the defining publications of the photobook era and established Alec SOTH as a leader in contemporary photographic practice.
The 'Sleeping by the Mississippi' series brings together portraits, interiors and landscapes captured via large-format camera during several trips along the Mississippi River - North America's longest and arguably most famous river. Poetry, the closest medium to photography for Alec SOTH, plays a key role in his work, and individual works are accompanied by written commentary. Formally, Alec SOTH follows the works of the 'heroes of 20th century American photography', such as William EGGLESTON, who was also portrayed for Alec SOTH's series by the latter, Robert FRANK or Alec SOTH's teacher, Joel STERNFELD. However, Alec SOTH's images are not characterized by the photographic instant of a hundredth of a second, but rather document a seemingly timeless space through the time-intensive construction of his camera. His photographs create a poetic-melancholic portrait of the central states of the USA.
Additional information, about the signed edition
First published by Steidl in 2004, there are now three editions of 'Sleeping by the Mississippi': the current edition (2017) is based on the first edition in terms of design. Signed copies of this edition were offered by the publisher, which means that a signed sticker was pasted into the book.
The signed edition from 2020 includes an extra image plate signed by the artist and glued into the inside back cover.
- Re-edit 2017, cloth bound HC (no dust jacket, as issued), 28 x 27,5 x 2 cm., 120 pp., 48 color ills., text language: English