Alec Soth's Archived Blog

March 12, 2007


Filed under: photographs (not mine) — alecsothblog @ 9:16 pm

Last week there was some discussion on this blog about the randomness of great pictures. What makes a picture great? Who knows? But you know it when you see it. And this week I saw a real doozy:

image by Nicholas Nixon from the series Patients


  1. Holy FUCK! Thanks for pointing out this work Alec. This photo is phenomenal.

    Comment by Zoe Strauss — March 12, 2007 @ 11:35 pm

  2. I thought you could tell me what makes a photo great. Just the the day, I got an email from someone who wanted to know from me what makes a picture great, and I said I was writing a post about it (which is kinda true, except that it will never get published since whenever I re-read what I wrote I delete everything and write the opposite).

    Comment by JM Colberg — March 13, 2007 @ 8:24 am

  3. “Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.”
    -Pablo Picasso

    Comment by Annabel — March 13, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  4. Nicholas Nixon has an extraordinary sense of form and composition. Even if one looks at some of his early group compositions the same sense pervades as in this c/u. A ‘scultptor’ with the camera.

    And by the way…for those of you not familiar with his series ‘The Brown Sisters’ check it out. He photographed his wife anf her 3 siters over a 25 or 30 year period. Very interesting… and a throw back to that earlier portrait thread on this blog.

    Comment by Frank — March 13, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

  5. at first glance of the photo (looking at the top) i was sure I’m looking at a photography of a male statue -and was admiring the light and texture etc..
    then while rolling down the page (my screen doesn’t permit me to see the hole photo at once) i realize little by little – I’m facing a photographed portrait of a living man ( it was the sort sparse hair on the back of his head – who made me realize my mistake and then i experienced a glimpse of a strange uncomfortable sensation -while realizing it is not a statue but a human been – reminded me of the unease -while observing some of Magritte’s and other surrealist artists)
    in any case this is a phenomenal photo indeed!!!

    Comment by moon — March 15, 2007 @ 5:02 am

  6. Nick Nixon. True OG in the game. End of story. Thank you.

    Comment by Sam Logan — March 15, 2007 @ 11:53 am

  7. Word.
    Never understood why Nixon isn’t a household name, even among photographers he’s a little unknown.

    Comment by phil — March 15, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  8. Soth,

    I name is sun yan chu (???)
    I,m from china. I really love your work .
    Sleeping by the Mississippi is my so love .

    I wanting your email to me


    Comment by sun yan chu — March 16, 2007 @ 11:30 pm

  9. nick was my photography professor in college and one of my biggest influences and champions. ive always been astounded by his work and this is just another in a long career of fantastic images.

    Comment by Jennifer — March 17, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

  10. wow… like stone.

    Comment by Katia — March 17, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

  11. I had Nick Nixon for a photography professor at Massart and he is definitely one of the few people I know that I would consider a ‘true artist’

    He’s continually an inspiration and a great guy…he’s incrediblly honest and a really compassionate person.

    Comment by Dan Otranto — March 19, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

  12. of course a lot of things go into what makes a photograph great, but first and foremost i think if it accompishes any sort of feeling for the photographer itself than no matter people’s opinion its a great photo. However, i know sometimes audience’s opinions are more valuable than youre own, like if your trying to make money, i still think if the photograph is an honest portrayal of what the photographer was seeing or feeling, its a great shot to me.

    Comment by whitmanm — March 26, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  13. What a complex and wonderful meshing of form and content – that’s all there really is. Astoundingly beautiful and sad. Imagine… that is a person. Nick was my teacher as well and I’ve always marveled at his productivity! I see him around on his bike and he is a great guy. Very honest and direct, just like his photographs.

    Comment by Edward — March 29, 2007 @ 9:49 am

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