I visited Gathered Leaves by Alec Soth at The Science Museum, London in March 2016.
This exhibition features works from Soth’s collections Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), Niagara (2006), Broken Manual (2010) and Songbook (2014). The exhibition showcases Soth’s documentary style, taking the visitor through each collection book by book. Each person Soth photographed looks like they have a story to tell, and many of their stories are included in the books that are also displayed in cases.
Soth pulls no punches in how he shoots his photographs. Each person is shown in their own habitat – often in their own rooms or outside their houses. he depicts a life of loneliness and, in some cases, misery/unhappiness for his subjects. Each image wanting the viewer to know more about the subject – though we wouldn’t necessarily want to visit or meet the people concerned!
One of the things I admire about Soth’s work is his persistent search for a new person to photograph, and how he appears to quickly gain their trust for them to share their stories and to let him into their ‘world’ for the photograph.