Evolving from a series of road trips along the Mississippi River, Alec Soth's Sleeping by the Mississippi captures America's iconic yet oft-neglected ‘third coast’. Soth's richly descriptive, large-format colour photographs present an eclectic mix of individuals, landscapes, and interiors. Sensuous in detail and raw in subject, Sleeping by the Mississippi elicits a consistent mood of loneliness, longing, and reverie. ‘In the book’s 46 ruthlessly edited pictures’, writes Anne Wilkes Tucker, ‘Soth alludes to illness, procreation, race, crime, learning, art, music, death, religion, redemption, politics, and cheap sex.’ Like Robert Frank’s classic The Americans, Sleeping by the Mississippi merges a documentary style with poetic sensibility. The Mississippi is less the subject of the book than its organising structure. Not bound by a rigid concept or ideology, the series is created out of a quintessentially American spirit of wanderlust. This book is one of the defining publications in the photo-book era.
“The book has become a classic of our time” - Photo-Eye
“America’s most immaculate, intriguing photographer” - The Guardian
“Soth is, by general consensus, the greatest living photographer of America’s social and geographical landscape, the modern heir to a tradition of documentary photography that goes back to Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange” - The Telegraph
by Alec Soth