The Herald Magazine - - NEWS -

Back at the end of the last cen­tury the Min­ne­ap­o­lis pho­tog­ra­pher Alec Soth de­cided to go on a road trip down the Mis­sis­sippi. Along the way, and on sub­se­quent road trips too, he cap­tured a vi­sion of North Amer­ica that was spooked and lonely and aching with an un­spo­ken dis­con­tent.

Here were pris­on­ers, preach­ers and iso­lated petrol sta­tions. Here were bibles and ceme­ter­ies. Here were lived-in homes and worn-out lives. Ev­ery im­age in the book that re­sulted, Sleep­ing by the Mis­sis­sippi, throbs with an un­told story.

“Lone­li­ness is as present as faith through­out the book,” writes Anne Wilkes Tucker in an af­ter­word of a new edi­tion of Soth’s 2004 book of pho­to­graphs. You can feel it on ev­ery page.

And maybe that lone­li­ness is why peo­ple get in their cars and go. Why? Be­cause out­side, it’s Amer­ica. Why? Be­cause if we keep mov­ing it proves we’re not dead, right?

So what else can we do? Fill her up, friend. Fill her up.

Taken from Sleep­ing by the Mis­sis­sippi by Alec Soth, pub­lished by MACK, priced £40

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