Alec Soth and making vs. taking

For my birthday, one of the things I wanted to do was head to the Everson Museum of Art to check out From Here to There: Alec Soth's America (I'm also a big fan of the ceramics room – I can spend a couple hours down there without thinking).

Soth is an Artist, with a capital A. He takes photos with an 8x10 camera. If you've never seen one, here's a good representation. The photographer has to hide under a hood, and it takes for-freaking-ever to focus on your subject.

If you want to take a close-up, you actually have to be really.gosh.darn.close up.

It's a long process, for both the photographer and the subject. It requires poses (something I've not been a fan of in the past), and then a lot of waiting to get the focus right.

Soth finds inspiration in a variety of subjets – people, floating mattresses, Niagara Falls (particularly the dichotomy of it being a lover's destination as well as a place for suicides).

This exhibit is a lot of fun. It includes a lot of Soth's projects, including his Mississippi River project, his Niagara Falls project, his Loneliest Man in America project, as well as 33 Movie Theaters and a Funeral Home and Single Goth Seeks Same.

But something a little more subtle stands out to me. While the vernacular is we "take photos," this exhibit includes descriptions about "making photos."

It's not the first time I've heard the term, but it's the first time I've really thought about it.

Taking photos feels like we're stealing something. It's something we do a lot. We go to a place that we find beautiful, and we take something with us. This "making" photos feels a little different. It's intentional, it's creative, it's the start of something.

What are you making today?

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge