Magnum in Motion – Alec Soth – Niagara

This ten minute video by Alec Soth has been a model for the work I wish to produce. I watched it again today. I am grateful to Alec Soth for giving me a copy of the video for the purposes of my project. It has 36 images in it from his book Niagara. The effectiveness of the video is that he does not talk about the specific images. Instead he talks about the process of creating the work. He talks about his own experiences of love and what he is inspired by to make his work. What happens is I look at the images but his words are prompting other thoughts at the same adding a richness to the experience of the image. I quote some of his words from the video with the images.

All images are from Soth’s photobook Niagara (Soth, 2006)

‘I am travelling all alone, am alone all the time….very lonely…and then I am in a honeymoon suite thinking about love.’

‘I think of the work as more like a love song on the radio rather than a documentary.

‘…laying in bed daydreaming about what this project is going to be’

‘…the shape was a circle, think about colour and shape as the material I am working with….like a painter would be working with it hunting it out in the landscape’

‘I married my high school sweetheart…. half my life later I don’t have these exact same feelings…..that would be ridiculous, right?….and yet we endure it. You know I haven’t fallen in love in a way long time. I love my wife deeply…..but you are my heavens above…I haven’t written those words in a long time’

‘Falling in love is a great feeling.’

‘Passion dies.’

References

SOTH, A. 2006. Niagara. New York. STEIDL.

Categories: Contextual Research FMP, Final Major Project, Project Development FMP

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.