Alec Soth's Archived Blog

January 4, 2007

Quotes n’ Links

Filed under: quotes — alecsothblog @ 3:19 pm

“Life long ago pushed its wet nose between art’s legs and took a deep, doggy sniff.” Seattle Post Intellligencer art critic Regina Hackett surveys the landscape of newspaper art criticism on her lively blog

“How do you strip away the pretenses without being left in your metaphorical underwear?” American Photo surveys the landscape of blogs by photographers (including Zoe and yours truly).

“My favorite artists make art that is inexplicable, even to someone like me, who spends a lot of time specifically thinking about and looking at art.” Jenelle Porter’s Top 10 Contemporary Artists (including Zoe), “Each one underrecognized, female, and ineffably awesome,” in The Believer.

“What I wanted was every last thing, every layer of speech and thought, stroke of light on bark or walls, every smell, pothole, pain, crack, delusion, held still and held together – radiant, everlasting.” Alice Monro (an author I’ve recently discussed) is calling it quits. As reported in the Toronto Star, Monro announced that she is finished writing because she has used up all of her material and has nothing left to say.

“Is giving in to the photographer’s presumably natural impulse to compose and light well sometimes OK and not OK other times?” David Byrne questions the appropriateness of depicting tragedy as beautiful on his blog.

“We better get used to living without visual boundaries–and with the curiosity and flexible morality of the viewer as the only limit on what we can see–from now on.” Richard B. Woodward discusses the Saddam Hussein cellphone video and the YouTube era in today’s Wall Street Journal.


November 30, 2006

Leonard Freed 1929-2006

Filed under: artists,Magnum,psa,quotes — alecsothblog @ 6:50 pm

Leonard Freed passed away on November 29th, 2006. Here are a few photographs and quotes from this great photographer:

Vatican City—Pope John XXIII enjoys the snow, 1958. ©Leonard Freed

“Photography is like life… What does it all mean? I don’t know – but you get an impression, a feeling…. An impression of walking through the street, walking through the park, walking through life. I’m very suspicious of people who say they know what it means.”

Denmark, 1971 ©Leonard Freed

“…a good photograph must have the element of good design: Everything within the photograph has to be essential. It’s never like a painting where you can have it perfect. It shouldn’t be absolutely perfect. That would kill it.”

Wall Street, New York, 1956©Leonard Freed

“Ultimately photography is about who you are. It’s the seeking of truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.”

November 2, 2006

Papageorge quote

Filed under: aesthetics,Papageorge,quotes — alecsothblog @ 2:16 pm
Whether or not Tod Papageorge is an underrated photographer, there is no doubting that he is an articulate one. This quote from the Bomb interview seems relevant to the discussion that has emerged from the After Arbus article:

I think now that, in general—and this includes a lot of what I see in Chelsea even more than what I see from students at Yale—there’s a failure to understand how much richer in surprise and creative possibility the world is for photographers in comparison to their imagination. This is an understanding that an earlier generation of students, and photographers, accepted as a first principle. Now ideas are paramount, and the computer and Photoshop are seen as the engines to stage and digitally coax those ideas into a physical form—typically a very large form. This process is synthetic, and the results, for me, are often emotionally synthetic too. Sure, things have to change, but photography-as-illustration, even sublime illustration, seems to me an uninteresting direction for the medium to be tracking now, particularly at such a difficult time in the general American culture.

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