It is little more than a decade since Alec Soth’s first book Sleeping by the Mississippi—and his sophomore publication Niagara—established him as one of contemporary photography’s leading lights. In the intervening years Soth has traversed the U.S., in the distinctly American photographic tradition, of Robert Frank and Walker Evans, in pursuit of his art—while consistently experimenting and pushing the boundaries of his work.
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Soth’s book Broken Manual published in 2013 focused on withdrawal from society—as Soth describes it, “the desire to runaway from the world”. His latest tome, Songbook, stems from the photographer’s desire to reengage. “[After Broken Manual] I wanted to be an out-in-the-world photographer and engage in social activities,” Soth told TIME. “I took this new photographic approach, for me, that is more journalistic.”