Evolving from a series of road trips along the Mississippi River, Sleeping by the Mississippi captures America’s iconic yet often-neglected ‘third coast’. Alec Soth’s richly descriptive, large-format colour photographs present an eclectic mix of individuals, landscapes, and interiors. Sensuous in detail and raw in subject, Sleeping by the Mississippi elicits a consistent mood of loneliness, longing, and reverie.
Like Robert Frank’s classic The Americans, Sleeping by the Mississippi merges a documentary style with poetic sensibility. The Mississippi is less the subject of the book than its organizing structure. Not bound by a rigid concept or ideology, the series is created out of a quintessentially American spirit of wanderlust. This edition, which includes two previously unpublished works, encapsulates the artist’s lyrical view which has undoubtedly acquired a nuanced significance – one in which hope, fear, desire and regret coalesce in the evocative journey along this mythic river.