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Magnum Photographer Alec Soth on Not Giving In to What’s ‘Cool’


In his latest “sofa session” interview, Martin Parr speaks with fellow Magnum photographer Alec Soth (pronounced like “both”) about launching his career, connecting with strangers on the road, and why it’s critical not to give in to what’s “cool.”

Parr has been doing these sofa sessions for about 10 months now, interviewing fellow photographers and really digging into their approach to the art and business of photography. Each interview boasts its own set of lessons and insight, but the latest brings a lot of experience to that sofa.

Soth is one of the foremost practitioners of “documentary style” portraiture, largely focused on capturing stories from across the midwest United States. His work has been described as “off-beat, hauntingly banal images of modern America,” and in this interview Parr gets at the root of how exactly Soth developed and nurtured this style over several decades of image making.

Alec Soth (right) with Marco Anelli (left) | Photo by Alessandra Brunhild Media, CC BY-SA 4.0

There is a lot of photographic talent, wisdom, and experience sitting on that sofa during this interview. If you don’t have the time to watch the full 21-minute discussion now, we highly recommend you add it to your (ever growing?) list of inspirational “must-watch” quarantine content.

And if you have even more time on your hands, you can find all of Parr’s Sofa Sessions in this YouTube playlist.

(via Reddit)