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Joel Sternfeld: American Prospects
First published in 1987 and critically acclaimed since then, the seminal work American Prospects has been compared to Walker Evans’ American Photographs and Robert Frank’s The Americans in both its ability to visually summarize the zeitgeist of a decade and to influence the course of photography following its publication. The present edition of American Prospects contains 16 new pictures, most of which have neither been published nor exhibited. Freed from the size constraints of previous editions, Sternfeld includes portraits and landscapes, which elucidate the human condition in America. The result is a more complex and rounded view of American society that strongly anticipates Sternfeld’s Stranger Passing series (1985–2000) and links the two bodies of work.
Artist(s): Joel Sternfeld
Publication Date: 2019 (Edition 12)
Binding: Hardcover, Clothbound
Dimensions: 38 x 30 cm
Price: 780 RMB
TO PURCHASE: Weidian
Joel Sternfeld is an artist-photographer whose work is concerned with utopian and dystopian possibilities of the American experience. Ever since the publication of his landmark photographic study American Prospects in 1987, his work has maintained strong conceptual and political aspects, while also being steeped in history, art history, landscape theory and attention to seasonal passage. It is a melancholic, spectacular, funny and profound portrait of America. The curator Kevin Moore has claimed that the work embodies the “synthetic culmination of so many photographic styles of the 1970s, incorporating the humor and social perspicacity of street photography with the detached restraint of New Topographics photographs and the pronounced formalism of works by so many late-decade colorists” (Kevin Moore, Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980).
His work represents a melding of time and place that serves to elucidate, honor, and warn. The images hold a certain urgency, as their histories survive solely through their photographic representation—they are an archive for the future. Sternfeld is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and spent a year in Italy on a Rome Prize. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, where he holds the Noble Foundation Chair in Art and Cultural History.
I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating
Taking its name from a line in the Wallace Stevens’ poem The Gray Room, Alec Soth’s I Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating is a lyrical exploration of the limitations of photographic representation. While these large-format color photographs are made all over the world, they aren’t about any particular place or population. By a process of intimate and often extended engagement, Soth’s portraits and images of his subject’s surroundings involve an enquiry into the extent to which a photographic likeness can depict more than the outer surface of an individual, and perhaps even plumb the depths of something unknowable about both the sitter and the photographer.
“After the publication of my last book about social life in America, Songbook, and a retrospective of my four, large scale American projects, Gathered Leaves, I went through a long period of rethinking my creative process. For over a year I stopped traveling and photographing people. I barely took any pictures at all.
When I returned to photography, I wanted to strip the medium down to its primary elements. Rather than trying to make some sort of epic narrative about America, I wanted to simply spend time looking at other people and, hopefully, briefly glimpse their interior life.
In order to try and access these lives, I made all of the photographs in interior spaces. While these rooms often exist in far-flung places, it’s only to emphasize that these pictures aren’t about any place in particular. Whether a picture is made in Odessa or Minneapolis, my goal was the same: to simply spend time in the presence of another beating heart.” – Alec Soth
Artist(s): Alec Soth
Contributor(s): Includes interview with Alec Soth by Hanya Yanagihara
Publication Date: 2019
Binding: Embossed linen hardback
Dimensions: 30 x 33.5 cm
Price: 500 RMB
TO PURCHASE: Weidian
Alec Soth (b. 1969) is a photographer born and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has published over 25 books including Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), NIAGARA (2006), Broken Manual (2010), Songbook (2015) and I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating (2019). Soth has had over 50 solo exhibitions including survey shows organized by Jeu de Paume in Paris (2008), the Walker Art Center in Minnesota (2010) and Media Space in London (2015). Soth has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship (2013). In 2008, Soth created Little Brown Mushroom, a multi-media enterprise focused on visual storytelling. Soth is represented by Sean Kelly in New York, Weinstein Hammons Gallery in Minneapolis, Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, Loock Galerie in Berlin, and is a member of Magnum Photos.