By way of follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut monograph Sleeping by the Mississippi, Alec Soth turns his eye to another iconic body of water, Niagara Falls. And as with his photographs of the Mississippi, these images are less about natural wonder than human desire. ìI went to Niagara for the same reason as the honeymooners and suicide jumpers,î says Soth, ìthe relentless thunder of the Falls just calls for big passion.î The subject may be hot, but the pictures are quiet, the rigorously composed and richly detailed products of a large-format 8×10 camera. Working over the course of two years on both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls, Soth edited the results of his labors down to a tight and surprising album. He depicts newlyweds and naked lovers, motel parking lots, pawnshop wedding rings and love letters from the subjects he photographed. We read about teenage crushes, workplace affairs, heartbreak and suicide. Oscar Wilde wrote, ìThe sight of the stupendous waterfall must be one of the earliest, if not the keenest, disappointments in American married life.î Niagara brings viewers both the passion and the disappointment–a remarkable portrayal of modern love and its aftermath.
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