Alec Soth (American, b.1969) is a photographer who is best known for photographing the Midwestern United States. He lives in Minneapolis, MN, which is also the city of his birth, although he relocated to Bronxville, NY, for his studies at Sarah Lawrence College. Soth's early work include a self-published book of portrait and landscape photographs entitled Sleeping by the Mississippi, which was the result of his travels along the Mississippi River. This book won him much attention from art critics, who said that his photographs conveyed a strong sense of intimacy with the landscape. His photograph Charles, which shows a man standing on the roof of his house with a model airplane in each hand, was used as a poster for the 2004 Whitney Biennial show, in which Soth's works were exhibited.
Soth, who was extremely shy during childhood and adolescence, was driven to start photographing people after being influenced by the work of portrait photographer Diane Arbus. He has said in interviews that he feels awkward approaching people and asking to take their photographs, and that he feels drawn to loners, hermits, and travelers as the subjects of his work. After his initial success with Sleeping by the Mississippi, Soth went on to publish a second photography book in 2006 entitled Niagara. For this work, he photographed people and places around Niagara Falls. He has since then produced two more books, Last Days of W and From Here to There: Alec Soth's America. He has also produced commissioned work for The New York Times Magazine.
Soth's work is included in a number of permanent collections, including those at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He is represented by the Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis.