Known for his haunting portraits of solitary Americans in Sleeping by the Mississippi and Broken Manual, Alec Soth has recently turned his lens toward community life in the country. To aid in his search, Soth assumed the increasingly obsolescent role of community newspaper reporter. From 2012-2014, Soth traveled state by state while working on his self-published newspaper, The LBM Dispatch, as well as on assignment for The New York Times and others. From upstate New York to Silicon Valley, Soth attended hundreds of meetings, dances, festivals and communal gatherings in search of human interaction in an era of virtual social networks.
In Songbook, published by MACK, Soth has stripped these pictures of their news context in order to highlight the longing for connection at their root. Fragmentary, funny and sad, Songbook is a lyrical depiction of the tension between American individualism and the desire to be united.