kottke.org posts about Alec Soth

Good Morning Minnesota

Photographer Alec Soth is interviewed by his young son Gus about his job, art, and leaving his family for work.

This is completely charming and awesome and heartbreaking. (via @polan)


The North Dakota oil boom

This weekend’s NY Times Magazine has a long piece on the oil boom happening right now in North Dakota.

It’s hard to think of what oil hasn’t done to life in the small communities of western North Dakota, good and bad. It has minted millionaires, paid off mortgages, created businesses; it has raised rents, stressed roads, vexed planners and overwhelmed schools; it has polluted streams, spoiled fields and boosted crime. It has confounded kids running lemonade stands: 50 cents a cup but your customer has only hundreds in his payday wallet. Oil has financed multimillion-dollar recreation centers and new hospital wings. It has fitted highways with passing lanes and rumble strips. It has forced McDonald’s to offer bonuses and brought job seekers from all over the country - truck drivers, frack hands, pipe fitters, teachers, manicurists, strippers.

The Times also sent photographer Alec Soth to photograph and talk to people in the area.

”Alex

“Over and over again, almost every single conversation I had, I ended up talking about Walmart,” says Soth, the photographer. “It’s the center of the culture, in a lot of ways.”

The operations there are so extensive that they can be seen in nighttime satellite photos.

”Satellite

What we have here is an immense and startlingly new oil and gas field - nighttime evidence of an oil boom created by a technology called fracking. Those lights are rigs, hundreds of them, lit at night, or fiery flares of natural gas. One hundred fifty oil companies, big ones, little ones, wildcatters, have flooded this region, drilling up to eight new wells every day on what is called the Bakken formation. Altogether, they are now producing 660,000 barrels a day — double the output two years ago — so that in no time at all, North Dakota is now the second-largest oil producing state in America. Only Texas produces more, and those lights are a sign that this region is now on fire … to a disturbing degree. Literally.

(via @youngna)


Advice for young photographers

Alec Soth asks a bunch of photographers a) when did you first get excited about photography? and b) what advice would you give young photographers?

Don’t stop questioning yourself (it’ll make you less arrogant). Push. Push, scratch, dig… Push further… And stop when you don’t enjoy it anymore… But most of all respect those you photograph…

(via conscientious)


After a complaint that the photos on

After a complaint that the photos on Flickr are “just all conventional, it’s all cliches, it’s just one visual convention after another”, Alec Soth asks where all the good photos are and gets a bunch of responses.


Photographer Alec Soth has a response to

Photographer Alec Soth has a response to the Richard Avedon essay regarding his portrait of Henry Kissinger. “While Avedon is correct that the subject is sometimes ‘implicated in what’s happening,’ more often than not the photographer holds all of the cards.” (thx, jen)


Interview with photographer Alec Soth. “I feel

Interview with photographer Alec Soth. “I feel like a large part of photography is like a performance. And the photograph is like a document of this performance, of this encounter with the world.” Many interviews with photographers often end up sounding very similar, but I enjoy reading them anyway. (via eyeteeth)


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