Gathered Leaves: Photographs by Alec Soth

The artist’s photographs of contemporary America and Americans are visually stunning and tell a story of the eccentric, overlooked, lost, obsessed, disorientated, poor and hopeful.   The work at the Media Space, Science Museum exhibition is brought together from his four books Sleeping by the Mississippi, Niagara, Broken Manual and Songbook. Within the exhibition there are portraits, landscapes and interiors, presented with vitrines containing letters from those photographed, notes by the artist and other research material.

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The subject matter ranges from waterfalls to bearded men clutching model planes to new families and love lost.  Through these subjects the artist bears witness to the less-seen, obscure America.  The series Broken Manual, featuring men who have abandoned the modern world and civilisation for a life of woods, caves and hermits is the most compelling.

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The exhibition is somehow very silent and modest, the photographs do not judge and yet we the viewers often do.  This exhibition is deeply compelling and intelligent.