Alec Soth: I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating
The famed Minneapolis photographer returns to his art
By: Sylvia Rani
After a year-long hiatus, Alec Soth has returned to photography. After a transcendental meditation experience in Helsinki permanently altered the Minneapolis-based photographer’s perspective, he took a break from photography to focus on mindfulness and contemplation. His recent work is a testament to the profound shift in how he views people and the spaces they occupy.
Soth’s large-scale color portraits on view at the Weinstein Hammons Gallery tell a serene story of the inner lives of their subjects. Some of the images contain people while others do not, focusing rather on their dwellings and the objects within them. The work shows a modest departure from Soth’s former style. Sleeping by the Mississippi—one of his most well-known projects—was a visual tour of rural America. He presented his subjects as pieces of a tale, part of something larger than each individual.
In contrast, the photographs in “I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating” don’t attempt to connect to each other or represent anything other than the subjects themselves. It’s a more personal look into their lives. The photos without a human presence retain this intimate feeling; without a figure to focus on, the viewer understands the essence of a subject’s life through their belongings. Personal items and the spaces they inhabit are physical manifestations of the subjects’ experiences. Chipped paint, gold foil-lined book pages, and fading baseball posters evoke feelings of nostalgia and tranquility. And while this project has some key differences to his past work, the photographs are undeniably Soth, natural lighting and keen attention to detail being signatures of the artist’s careful and deliberate eye.
“I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating” will be on display at the Weinstein Hammons Gallery through May 4.