Alec Soth's Archived Blog

September 18, 2006

Robert Adams and Star Magazine

Filed under: editorial photo,photographs (mine) — alecsothblog @ 10:44 pm

The beautiful thing about blogging is that you start seeing things as connected. Today I was reading Along Some Rivers, Photographs and Conversations with Robert Adams. In an interview from 2005, Adams is asked, “What disappoints you most about America now?” His answer:

The tyranny of popular culture – the widespread confusion of coarseness with strength, of loudness with significance, of novelty with value. On public radio, for example, Terry Gross spends hours discussing the minutiae of trash TV and movies. For which there is always this cost: those who think and create in more discriminating ways are left less understood and less supported, exactly where corporate America wants them to be left – marginalized, posing no threat to commercial advertising and political propaganda.

After reading this I received an email alerting me that some pictures I’d taken for Blackbook magazine (not yet on the stands) had been reproduced in Star Magazine. I’m not going to go as far as equating Terry Gross with trash media, but maybe I should be worried when I get excited about seeing my name in Star (with an exclamation mark, no less!):



  1. No, that’s ok as long your name and exclamation mark isn’t printed bigger than… hm let’s say in font size 11… 😉

    Comment by creezy — September 19, 2006 @ 4:09 am

  2. Perhaps the exclamation is for Cynthia Rowley’s backyard!

    Comment by William K. — September 19, 2006 @ 10:56 am

  3. You are breaking my heart William.

    Comment by Alec Soth — September 19, 2006 @ 1:26 pm

  4. At they didn’t go with the triple !!! 😉 Nice images, though.

    Comment by lane — September 19, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

  5. Alec,

    I don’t mean to break your heart, but do you know how rare a great backyard is in NYC?!

    PS Was it actually a great backyard? Looks like it in the photo. Exclamation points to you if it was a lousy backyard!!

    Comment by William K. — September 19, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

  6. Some people have to give birth to elephant-men and track Bigfoot before they can appear in such publications. You had to do neither… Congrats!

    Comment by Steve — September 19, 2006 @ 3:01 pm

  7. I think at your next serious “art photography” exhibition you should use exclamation points on all of your titles and captions! Give ’em some zip! What do you think?!?!

    Comment by Jack Nelson — September 19, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

  8. […] I read a more extreme example of bitterness in the interview I recently cited with Robert Adams. At the end of the interview, Adams is asked: “Where do the political calamities of the recent years lead you?… The invasion of Iraq, the U.S. administration’s endorsement of torture, its failure to engage the problem of global warming, the re-election – if that’s what it was – of the Bush administration…” […]

    Pingback by alec soth - blog » Blog Archive » On becoming a curmudgeon — September 23, 2006 @ 9:17 am

  9. I’ve got to say that while I’ve been a fan of Robert Adams for over 30 years I cannot agree with him on this one (no big deal – I can’t make photographs remotely as intense as his either). His photos are good products of passion for me, his writings flirt with the less good implications of passionate belief. But here’s abig vote for popular culture, Terry Gross, Nirvana, Ramones, impurity and all fun stuff that does not include trans fats. I loved Secretary, but I like Niagara and Sleeping by the Mississippi a lot better than the photo of Maggie Gyllenhall (though if it had turned out to be the masterpiece of your body of work that would be very cool). Keep up the good work on this blog – it’s great to see the enthusiasm you have for the work of others.

    Comment by Marc Freidus — November 16, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

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