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Alec Soth Gathered Leaves

A visit to Alec Soth’s Gathered Leaves exhibition at the National Media Museum, Bradford:

Slide show of my photos of photos and gallery space (Fuji X100T, Classic Chrome).

I enjoyed this so much that I visited twice on the same day and will no doubt visit again before the exhibition is over.

The exhibition is a retrospective, spanning Soth’s career; hence ‘gathered leaves’ [of photo paper]. It tells us the story of Soth and the story of those whose images he captures, full of rich narrative.

The images sit between the dream-like and the realistic, which makes them fascinating and sometimes other-worldly. The compositions and prints are immaculately formed from Soth’s skill, using an 8X10 camera. One senses a deep engagement with his sitters – they look comfortable in front of the camera but do not seem self-conscious, it is as-if we are observing people in their natural state, with no pretence for the sake of the photograph.

In the exhibition are glass cabinets showing documents that inspired each of Soth’s projects and giving an idea of Soth’s level of engagement with his subjects. A nice touch are video displays of turning pages from the original photobooks.

As I walked through Bradford City Park after viewing the exhibition, with the intention of taking some candid street photos, I felt that this approach is somehow no longer enough for my practice. I want direct engagement with my subjects – a kind of interview with a camera.


National Media Museum [website]. Alec Soth Gathered Leaves. Available from: http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/planavisit/exhibitions/alecsothgatheredleaves/about [accessed 8.5.16]

O’Hagan S (2015). The Guardian [website]. Alec Soth Gathered Leaves (October). Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/oct/06/alec-soth-gathered-leaves-photographer-uk-retrospective [accessed 8.5.16]


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