Alec Soth's Archived Blog

August 27, 2007


Filed under: goof,jump the sandwich,quizes & assignments — alecsothblog @ 10:26 am

A photography professor recently asked me how I was able to find time for this blog. The reason, I speculated, was that I wasn’t a photography professor. Teaching seems to draw from the same well as blogging. And after two weeks at the San Francisco Art Institute, my well is just about dry.

Please bear with me. It might take a couple of months to recover. Nevertheless, I promised to grade one last assignment: Jump the Sandwich

The goal of my recent sandwich jump critique was to push participants toward a looser style. Jens Holzapfel responded with an excellent version of ‘Munching by the Mississippi’:

photo by Jens Holzapfel

A couple more loose entries:

Monte Cristo sandwich plus Foreigner’s “Juke Box Hero” (photo by Chase Allgood)

photo by Nicolaprincipato

photo by Michael Larky

Initially Michael Larky thought the photographer was supposed to do the jumping. I love the result. It looks like a picture Lise Sarfati might take while tripping:

photo by Michael Larky

Shawngust ignored my encouragement of looseness and made a picture that was tight in more ways than one:

photo by Shawn Gust

This seems to be a mini-trend in sandwich jumping photography:

photo by Guy Batey

As with my students in San Francisco, the sandwich jumpers turned my theories and expectations upside down. I’m not an enormous fan of either Duane Michaels or Francesca Woodman, but when Marissa Long and Andy McMillan put them together like slices of bread in a mystical sandwich (with the cat as ham and the hand shadow as cheese) the result is pure photographic magic. And before you ask, no, they didn’t use Photoshop to achive this effect.

Dear readers, here is your 2007 JTS winner:

photo by Marissa Long and Andy McMillan

  • To see all of the entries, go here


  1. Go Marissa and Andy! That is mind blowing. Congratulations on deviating from the norm of the not-so-normal and quite ridiculous requests of Mr. Alec Soth.

    Comment by Tim Briner (From Boonville, Missouri) — August 27, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  2. Alec, How about “Jump the gun” , as you next round?

    Comment by William Greiner — August 27, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

  3. […] A few weeks ago Alec Soth made a post on his blog discussing Flickr groups and issued an assignment with a prize for the winner. The assignment was a merger of two existing Flickr groups, Girls Eating Sandwiches and Bed Jumpers, resulting in Jump the Sandwich, photographs of women jumping on a bed while eating a sandwich. Quirky as it was, it seemed fun and the prospect of a prize was intriguing. I spent several sleepless nights dreaming of winning a complete set of Alec’s books, or at least his most recent Fashion Magazine. Originally I misread the assignment as if the photographer was to be doing the jumping. The idea of me jumping on a bed and taking a photo at the same time seemed like more fun so I made both versions. The winner was announced and sadly enough my efforts fell short. It was fun though so I will gladly claim that prize. […]

    Pingback by » Blog Archive » Jump the Sandwich — August 27, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  4. The winning picture is pretty sweet.

    Comment by mike — August 27, 2007 @ 4:00 pm

  5. I am curious as to how many beds were broken in completing this assignment!

    Comment by Owen — August 27, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

  6. Hi Alec and Freinds
    The question of finding time is a good one, and I wondered the same about you.
    I stayed away from this assignment for the very reason you created it. To loosen up. For some reason initially I could’nt get the idea of “dropping my camera while taking the shot” out of my mind. And the thought of shooting on a tripod just did’nt seem right.
    Having said that, the illusionistic quality of the winner is in my oppinion really neat. She really looks like she is floating.

    Comment by w robert angell — August 27, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  7. I just stumbled on an old site called Subservient Chicken. Not only can you make him jump, he’ll also turn himself into a sandwich. Give it a try here.

    Comment by Alec Soth — August 27, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

  8. Could Marissa Long and Andy McMillan give the technical info of this shot? Camera? Film? Trick for the effect?

    Comment by Jay Watkins — August 28, 2007 @ 2:31 am

  9. Jay-
    That’s a really good suggestion, although I think magicians don’t like giving away how they do their tricks.

    Comment by mike — August 28, 2007 @ 7:47 am

  10. Thanks, guys! Like Mike says, we generally don’t give away any “trick” info, aside from saying everything was set up in front of the camera and can be found on one negative. As for the rest, nothing especially fancy – Hasselblad 500 c/m, Ilford Delta 100. Please direct any further inquiries to the chicken mentioned above. His response to “chicken nugget” is a little perplexing, but he clearly knows how to make an good sandwich picture, and has some compelling dance moves to boot.

    Comment by marissa — August 28, 2007 @ 9:07 am

  11. I must admit that M&A picture is really impressive, so my congratulations. My unique objection is that it is really still. Anyway, just for my curiosity, is it possible to know what is the prize?
    Take care,


    Comment by Nicola Principato — August 29, 2007 @ 7:15 am

  12. […] If you found yourself enjoying Alec’s Jump The Sandwich shenanigans, you’ll may also enjoy the many wonders of the fabulous project Specific Things. I’d love to highlight all of the “specific things” that the website features but, well, that’s what the site’s for. […]

    Pingback by SHANE LAVALETTE / JOURNAL » Blog Archive » Specific Things — September 5, 2007 @ 6:57 pm

  13. dangnabbit – i was just gettin warmed up for this : (

    Comment by steven — September 20, 2007 @ 10:52 am

  14. This is a lot of fun. Interesting way of getting the artists to loosen up. It’s nice to see artists who do work like this, not everything has to be serious all the time, unfortunately some people work that way. It’s nice to see the different approaches to the same assignment.

    Comment by Laurel — April 2, 2008 @ 11:41 am

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