It’s safe to say that Sleeping By the Mississippi by Alec Soth is one of the seminal bodies of work that helped to shape what contemporary photographic practice is today. This month sees the first exhibition in London to focus on the critically acclaimed series at Beetles+Huxley, which is now open and will run until 21 October 2017.
The exhibition coincides with the latest Mack edition of the book which includes two previously unpublished images. The series evolved from a number of road trips along the Mississippi River between 1999 and 2002 and documents the characters, interiors and landscapes of America’s iconic but often neglected “third coast.”
Having first been published in 2004, the series established Soth as one of the “leading lights of contemporary photography” and is a series that has certainly stood the test of time. We asked Soth about why he thinks, (nearly) 15 years down the line, the images still seem to resonate so much with an audience:
“As a photographer, it’s often a mystery understanding what resonates with people. I often make the analogy to pop music. Why does one song or album connect and hold over time while another passes away. One can try to analyse the variables of rhythm, lyrics and so on – but I don’t think you can find an answer. Like pop hits, successful photographs seem to be sprinkled with fairy dust.”
Sleeping by the Mississippi is on now at Beetles+Huxley, London until 21 October 2017.
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Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.