Alec Soth (American, b.1969) is a photographer who is best known for photographing the Midwestern United States. He lives in Minneapolis, MN, which is also the city of his birth, although he relocated to Bronxville, NY, for his studies at Sarah Lawrence College. Soth's early work include a self-published book of portrait and landscape photographs entitled Sleeping by the Mississippi, which was the result of his travels along the Mississippi River. This book won him much attention from art critics, who said that his photographs conveyed a strong sense of intimacy with the landscape. His photograph Charles, which shows a man standing on the roof of his house with a model airplane in each hand, was used as a poster for the 2004 Whitney Biennial show, in which Soth's works were exhibited.

Soth, who was extremely shy during childhood and adolescence, was driven to start photographing people after being influenced by the work of portrait photographer Diane Arbus. He has said in interviews that he feels awkward approaching people and asking to take their photographs, and that he feels drawn to loners, hermits, and travelers as the subjects of his work. After his initial success with Sleeping by the Mississippi, Soth went on to publish a second photography book in 2006 entitled Niagara. For this work, he photographed people and places around Niagara Falls. He has since then produced two more books, Last Days of W and From Here to There: Alec Soth's America. He has also produced commissioned work for The New York Times Magazine.

Soth's work is included in a number of permanent collections, including those at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He is represented by the Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis.

Timeline

1992
Bachelor of Arts, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
1999
McKnight Photography Fellowship
2001
Minnesota State Arts Board
2001
MCAD / Jerome Fellowship
2001
Jerome Travel and Study Grant
2003
Santa Fe Prize for Photography
2004
McKnight Photography Fellowship
2006
Golden Light Book Award
2006
Deutsche Börse Prize (shortlisted artist)
2008
Member of Magnum Photos
2008
Bush Artist Fellowship
2008
PhotoVision Award
2011
International Center of Photography’s 27th Annual Infinity Award

Exhibitions

2011
Alec Soth, Paddle8, Online Exhibition (solo)
2011
From Here To There, Alec Soth’s America, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY (solo)
2011
Broken Manual, Loock Galerie, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2011
Streams of Consciousness: The Histories, Mythologies, and Ecologies of Water, Salina Art Center, Salina, Kansas
2011
American Photography: From Berenice Abbott to Alec Soth, Kunsthandel Jörg Maaß, Berlin, Germany.
2011
Krakow Photography Biennial, Krakow, Poland.
2011
Post Cards from America Project, Magnum Photos, New York, NY
2010
Myth, Manners and Memory: The American South, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, UK
2010
Strange & Familiar: Three Views of Brighton, Brighton Museum of Art, Brighton, UK
2010
Embarrassment of Riches, Picturing Global Wealth, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
2010
Huckleberry Finn, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CA
2010
Portraits/100 Years: August Sander, Robert Mapplethorpe and Alec Soth, Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
2010
On the Road: A Legacy of Walker Evans, Robert Lehman Art Center at Brooks School, North Andover, MA
2010
From Here To There, Alec Soth’s America, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
2010
American Portraits, American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy (solo)
2010
Mississippi Niagara, Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy (solo)
2010
The Mechanical Bride, The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, CA
2010
America Now, Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA
2010
People, Places & Things, Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL
2010
Individual to Icon, Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND
2009
The Minnesota Eye, College of Visual Arts and Design, Saint Paul, MN
2009
NIAGARA, Williams College Musuem of Art, Williamstown, MA (solo)
2009
Sleeping by the Mississippi, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA (solo)
2009
Dog Days, Bogotá, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA (solo)
2009
Back Line of Woods, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
2009
Dog Days, Bogotá, NIAGARA, IM Art, Seoul, Korea (solo)
2009
Last Days Of W, Stephen Wirtz Gallery San Francisco, CA (solo)
2009
Last Days of W, Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2008
Last Days Of W, Haunch of Venison, Zurich, Switzerland
2008
Alec Soth: The Space Between Us, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Swizterland (solo)
2008
Dog Days, Bogotá, Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
2008
Alec Soth: The Space Between Us, BBK, Bilbao, Spain (solo)
2008
Sleeping by the Mississippi, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
2008
The Space Between Us: Photographs by Alec Soth, Jeu de Paume, Paris, France (solo)
2008
Niagara, Ffoto Gallery, Wales, UK (solo)
2008
Heart Land, Van Abbemuseum, The Netherlands
2008
30th Anniversary Exhibition, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2008
UTOPIA, Museu Collecao Berardo, Lisbon, Spain
2008
Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland
2008
Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
2008
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
2007
Host Gallery, London, UK
2007
Power House, Memphis, TN
2007
Picturing Eden, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
2007
Summer Exhibition, Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
2007
Summer Show, Gagosian Gallery New York, NY
2007
A New American Portrait, Jen Bekman Gallery, New York, NY
2007
June Bride, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY
2007
Magnum Cinema Commission, Cinémathèque Française, Paris, France
2007
Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, England
2007
On Death and Dying: Photographs from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, January, Columbia College, Chicago, IL
2007
Documents: Memory of the Future, Koldo Mitxelena, San Sebastian, Spain - traveling
2007
Landscape: Fact and Fiction, Benton Museum, Storrs, CT
2007
Dog Days, Bogotá, Weinstein Gallery,Minneapolis, MN
2007
Tunnels and Birds, Power House, Memphis, TN
2007
Fashion Magazine, Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
2007
NIAGARA, Host Gallery, London, England
2006
Sleeping by the Mississippi, California Museum of Photography, UC-Riverside, CA
2006
NIAGARA, Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
2006
NIAGARA, Wohnmaschine, Berlin, Germany
2006
NIAGARA, Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY
2006
Sleeping by the Mississippi, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA (solo)
2006
Sleeping by the Mississippi, Olson Gallery, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN (solo)
2006
THE OFFICE: In and Out of the Box, Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City, NY
2006
Group Dynamic: Portfolios, Series and Sets, Des Moines Art Center Downtown, Des Moines, Iowa
2006
Pingyao International Photography 2006, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China
2006
Downriver, Minnesota Center for Photography, Minneapolis, MN
2006
Prague Contemporary Arts Festival, Prague, Czech Republic
2006
ClickDoubleClick, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
2006
Between the Lakes, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI
2006
less is more, more or less, Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
2006
ClickDoubleClick, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
2006
Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2006, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, England
2006
Middle Ground: Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Miriam & Ira D.
2006
Wallach Art Gallery - Columbia University, New York
2006
The Ramer Collection and Other Photographs, The Richard Nelson Gallery, UC-Davis, Davis, CA
2006
Picturing Eden, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
2006
Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2006
Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
2005
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
2005
Nine Portraits, Steven Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2005
Epilogue, Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
2005
Contemporary Photographs from the Allen J. Thomas Jr. Collection, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
2005
Selections from the 26th Bienal de São Paulo Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago, Chile
2005
American Landscapes, Timezone 8 Editions, Beijing, China
2005
Beyond the Portrait, T.H. Inside, Milan, Italy
2005
McKnight Fellowship exhibition, University of Minnesota Regis Center for Art, Minneapolis, MN
2005
Regarding the Rural, MassMoCA, Boston, MA
2005
Roger Ballen, Vera Lütter, and Alec Soth, Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY
2005
Minets A Polis, Cohan and Leslie Gallery, New York, NY
2005
Portraits, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
2005
Photographs from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi, Focal Point Gallery, Southend on Sea, Essex UK(solo)
2004
Photographs from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi, Open Eye, Liverpool, UK (solo)
2004
Photographs from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi, Wohnmaschine, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2004
Photographs from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi, Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
2004
Photographs from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi, Stephen Wirtz Gallery San Francisco, CA (solo)
2004
Photographs from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi, Yossi Milo Gallery New York, NY (solo)
2004
Group Show, Daiter Contemporary, Chicago, Illinois
2004
26th Bienal de São Paulo, Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo, São Paulo, Brazil
2004
Summer Group Exhibition, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2004
Best Midwestern: Photographs from the Heartland, Jen Bekman, New York, NY
2004
Wild Flowers Ariel Meyerowitz, New York, NY
2004
Cakewalk, Ambrosino Gallery, Miami, Florida
2004
PhotoLondon gallery booth, Gagosian Gallery, London, UK
2004
Photographs from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi, ArtChicago Artist Booth, Chicago, IL
2004
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
2004
Group photography exhibition, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran
2004
Open Eye, Liverpool, UK
2004
Wohnmaschine, Berlin, Germany
2004
Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
2004
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2004
Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY
2003
Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
2003
Weitman Gallery of Photography, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
2003
Picturing Bill - Portraits of William Eggleston, John Stinson Fine Arts, New Orleans, LA
2003
Summer Life, Alice Austen Museum, Staten Island, NY
2003
Dog Days, Gallery T, Minneapolis, MN
2003
Group Exhibition, Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
2003
Sleeping by the Mississippi. Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, IL (solo)
2003
Sleeping by the Mississippi, Weitman Gallery of Photography, Washington University, St. Louis, MO (solo)
2002
Photographs from the series Sleeping by the Mississippi, exhibited as part of the 2001-2002
2002
Jerome Fellowship exhibition, Minneapolis College of Art and Design Gallery Minneapolis, MN
2002
Campus as Place, Photographing Carleton, Carleton College Art Gallery, Northfield, MN
2001
Portraits (From Here to There), Central Lakes College Gallery St. Cloud, MN (solo)
2000
Portraits (From Here to There), as part of the McKnight Fellows Exhibition, Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
1998
Two-person exhibition of portraits with Joel Sternfeld, Minnesota Center for Photography, Minneapolis, MN
1995
Photographs from the At the Bar series, Icebox Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
1993
Two-person exhibition of photographs from the series, The Middle Night, Minneapolis Photographer’s Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

Public Collections

Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE
Robbins Kaplan Miller Ciresi, Minneapolis, MN
Regis Corporate Art Collection, Minneapolis, MN
Progressive Art Collection, Cleveland, OH
LaSalle Bank, New York, NY
General Mills Corporate Art Collection, Golden Valley, MN
Dorsey Whitney, Minneapolis, MN
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Albright-Knox Gallery of Art, Buffalo, NY
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
Israel Museum of Contemporary Art, Jerusalem, Israel
LA County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN
Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA

Literature

2008
The Last Days of W, Little Brown Mushroom, USA
2007
Dog Days, Bogotá, Steidl, Germany
2007
Fashion Magazine, Magnum, Paris
2006
Niagara, Steidl, Germany
2005
The Making of Parts, photo essay Granta, issue 89
2004
Sleeping by the Mississippi, Steidl, Germany
2002
Vantage Points: Campus as Place (with Beth Dow and Chris Faust),Carleton College Press, Northfield, USA
1997
Linked to the Future: Minneapolis and St. Paul, (6 b/w plates), Towery Publishing, USA