Documentary photographer Alec Soth to visit Bloomington campus

Noted photographer Alec Soth will visit IU’s Bloomington campus this week.

Soth — perhaps best known for his work photographing the Midwest, particularly his 2004 collection of photographs titled “Sleeping by the Mississippi” — will speak at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, in Fine Arts 015.

The lecture is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies and the College Arts and Humanities Institute.

Peter's Houseboat, Winona, Minnesota 2002.

Alec Soth. “Peter’s Houseboat,” Winona, Minnesota 2002.

IU professor of photography Jeff Wolin, who directs the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies, said he sought Soth out for a visit to Bloomington after the two exhibited work together at a 2010 show in France.

“He’s a very distinguished contemporary photographer and the area he’s best known for overlaps with my own work: creative documentary photography,” Wolin said. “We were in a large group show together that featured some of the more innovative documentary photographers in the U.S. working together. I was familiar with him before, but when I saw his work there, I definitely knew I wanted to find a way to bring him here to Bloomington.”

Wolin continued, “What I love about his work and what I hope others get is that he’s definitely a contemporary artist, yet his work speaks to the history of traditional photography. He works with large-format cameras, so he creates his large, highly-detailed images that are very photographic yet conceptually very solid. It’s beautiful, and very moving.”

Soth is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other awards, and his photographs have been featured in the 2004 Whitney and Sao Paulo Biennials. In 2010, the Walker Art Center produced a large survey exhibition of Soth’s work titled “From Here to There.” He also founded the publishing house Little Brown Mushroom.

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