If you know me, you know that my favorite living working artist is Alec Soth. I have his books, I obsess over his work, I even had the opportunity to meet him after one of his lectures (I was shaking, and found it hard to talk). I just found out that Soth has a new body of work, commissioned by the High Museum in Atlanta called Black Line of Woods his only criteria for this work was that he must photograph in the south. You can read a lot more about this work here, but his general concept was that of runaways, hermits, specifically mentioning Huck Finn or Robinson Crusoe.
But something really cool about this exhibit is the five question interview with the artist attached. I want to share two specific questions with my friends one regarding medium and the debate about film or digital and another regarding being a photographer:
You work primarily with an 8 x 10 view camera. Can you describe the technical advantages and challenges of working in this format? Do you anticipate moving to a digital format in the future?
I work with lots of different cameras. One of my books was done with medium format and I've done a couple of smaller bodies of work digitally. I want to be like a filmmaker and work on a project-by-project basis. I admire the way someone like Steven Soderberg can do a high-budget Hollywood movie and then a small, like black-and-white experimental film. I want the same kind of freedom. The project comes first, then the technology.
What inspired you to become a photographer? Do you have any advice for up-and-coming photographers?
It took me awhile to find photography. I used to do temporary sculptures outdoors in the style of people like Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy. I would document these photographically. Eventually I just gave up the sculptures but continued with the photography.
My advice for up-and-coming photographers is to try lots of different kinds of photography. Along with personal projects, try doing assignment-driven work. Try sports photography. Or nudes. Try it all. Then be honest with yourself. If you really want to take pictures of your cat, then so be it. . . take pictures of your cat.