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

August 20, 2007

Location scouting

Filed under: goof,jump the sandwich — alecsothblog @ 11:48 pm

The ‘Happy Days’ room at the FantaSuite Hotel in West Bend, Wisconsin. Take the 360° tour here. Speaking of Happy Days, didn’t this all start with Fonzie?

August 19, 2007

‘Jump the Sandwich’ update

Filed under: goof,jump the sandwich,vernacular & Flickr — alecsothblog @ 11:59 am

I’m going to accept Sandwich Jumping assignments for another week. Entries should be posted at by Sunday, August 26th. Soon after I’ll announce the winner. Here is what I’ve seen so far.

photo by Mad_lips

photo by mph.silva

photo by Evephotographer

photo by Petermaxlawrence

This one scares me (I’m not sure I want this contest to be associated with the ‘Bloody Shots‘ pool):

photo by sam_252499

photo by dougphoto_com

photo by whileseated

Whileseated (Michael David Murphy) has the most popular ‘Sandwich Jump’ on Flickr. And while I’m a fan of Michael’s work (go to his website here) and I appreciate the technical prowess of both photographer and model, everything is a bit too perfect. I prefer the disorder of this picture:

photo by adrian1tyler1net

This picture reminds me a lot of Whileseated’s:

photo by LNpom

Again, this kind of virtuosity leaves me cold. But in her comments section, LNpom shows the picture without the post-processing:

photo by LNpom

This picture seemed much more alive. I wrote to LNpom to ask if I could have a full-sized version. In her reply, the French photographer described the challenges of making the picture: “It was not so easy because I did that alone and managing to be “flying” at the time of the flash AND in the frame AND looking at the camera is hard job. I usually don’t dress like that but I had in mind a flying pin up (like the american ones during the 50’s) with a sandwich.”

I also asked LNpom if she could send me a less ‘perfect’ exposure. The picture she sent gets at the spirit of the assignment. The ripples on the wall are a perfect example of Barthe’s idea of punctum. For me they evoke rubber rooms. Combined with LNpom’s pin-up idea, I imagine Marilyn Monroe if she’d been hospitalized before her suicide:

photo by LNpom

August 12, 2007

Assignment: Jump the…

Filed under: goof,jump the sandwich,quizes & assignments — alecsothblog @ 11:12 pm

The Urban Dictionary defines the term Jump the Shark as:

To reach the point where the popularity of a show, movie, musician, or any other pop culture icon declines in popularity. Original meaning was the point when a television series shows it has run out of ideas and must resort to stunts to retain viewer interest (refers to an episode of The 1960’s TV show, “Happy Days” where Fonz jumps over a shark while water skiing, see also Jump the Couch).

After last week’s Flickr fireworks, I might just be ready to make the leap. But for the next couple of weeks I’m going to be teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute. Since I won’t have much time for the blog, I thought I’d hand out an assignment. I’m going to give the same assignment to my students in SFAI:


One of the fascinating things about Flickr is the phenomenon of Flickr groups. A couple of my favorites are Girls Eating Sandwiches and Bed Jumpers:

photos by A.R.E. (left) and Mirandala (right)

Your assignment, if you choose to accept it:

1) Photograph a woman* eating a sandwich** while jumping*** onto a bed.
2) Post the picture**** here:
3) I will award a prize to my favorite assignment.

*I will consider men with long hair, men wearing high heels or men who wear panties and lingerie
**Extra points will be given for grilled cheese sandwiches and/or UK sandwiches
*** I will consider this activity as an alternative to jumping
****Diptychs will be considered

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