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Book Review – A Pound of Pictures: Alec Soth’s Eclectic Ode to the Photographic Medium


A Pound of Pictures” presents a captivating journey through the lens of acclaimed photographer Alec Soth, showcasing an entirely new collection of work produced between 2018 and 2021. This stream-of-consciousness celebration of the photographic medium takes readers on a winding road trip of imagery, capturing a diverse array of subjects that range from the enigmatic allure of Buddhist statues and birdwatchers to the carefree spirit of sun-seekers and the stoic presence of busts portraying Abraham Lincoln. Through this book, Soth reflects on the profound desire to capture and immortalize experiences through printed images, exploring the intersection between representation and recollection. Seamlessly intertwining his photographs with personal notes and reflections in an extended afterword, Soth delves into the essence of the artistic process, where the ephemeral meets the tangible in a dance of light, time, and human perception.

All images – Courtesy of the artist and MACK.


The Eclectic Array of Subjects:

Alec Soth’s photographic odyssey in “A Pound of Pictures” spans an eclectic array of subjects, capturing the essence of life in its many facets. His lens delves into the world of Buddhist statues, evoking a sense of spiritual tranquillity and devotion. The birdwatchers he immortalizes remind us of our connection to nature and the simple joys of observing wildlife. The sun-seekers embody carefree spirits, basking in the warmth and wonder of summer. The presence of busts portraying Abraham Lincoln, a towering historical figure, invites contemplation on the weight of human history and the enduring impact of leadership. Soth’s ability to traverse such diverse themes reflects his profound appreciation for the multifaceted nature of existence and the stories that unfold before him.


The Desire to Capture and Crystallise Experience:

Throughout “A Pound of Pictures,” Soth contemplates the inherent desire to capture and crystallize experiences through the photographic medium. As images materialize through the click of a camera shutter, they freeze moments in time, preserving memories that may otherwise slip through the sands of time. Soth’s photographs invite viewers to ponder the nature of recollection and how printed images hold the power to transport us back to the very essence of those captured moments. By doing so, he offers a glimpse into the profound relationship between the ephemeral nature of life and the tangible permanence of printed photographs.


Iconography, Souvenirs, and Mementos:

Within the pages of “A Pound of Pictures,” recurring themes of iconography, souvenirs, and mementoes emerge as essential elements of the human experience. Soth’s keen eye captures not only the subjects themselves but also the symbols and objects that carry personal significance. Icons serve as tangible representations of intangible beliefs, guiding individuals on their spiritual journeys. Souvenirs, laden with memories, become tokens of cherished moments, weaving threads of connection between the past and the present. Mementoes hold sentimental value, preserving fragments of life’s most meaningful encounters. Through these themes, Soth reflects on the ways in which physical objects become vessels of emotional attachment and serve as touchstones for the human spirit.


The Image-Makers Surrounding Us:

As a photographer, Alec Soth is not merely an observer but also an image-maker, and his presence in “A Pound of Pictures” serves as a contemplative reminder of the ubiquity of photography in our lives. In this age of smartphones and digital cameras, image-makers surround us, and the act of capturing moments has become ingrained in our daily existence. Soth’s work transcends the role of the passive observer; he becomes a co-creator of narratives, weaving his vision into the tapestry of human experience. Through this realization, Soth encourages us to be mindful of the power that photography wields in shaping our perceptions of the world and each other.


The Ruminative Road Trip:

“A Pound of Pictures” forms a ruminative road trip through the intertwining highways of human experiences, emotions, and visual stories. Soth’s photographs guide us on a mesmerizing journey, capturing the essence of fleeting moments and immortalizing them within the pages of the book. Each image serves as a portal into a specific world, inviting viewers to contemplate the nuances of life and the interplay of light, time, and human consciousness. The book’s sequencing, like the passing landscapes during a road trip, ignites curiosity and invites reflection on the interconnectedness of diverse subjects.


The Photographer’s Afterword:

In the extended afterword, Alec Soth offers an intimate glimpse into his creative process, shedding light on the deeper significance of the images captured in “A Pound of Pictures.” He highlights the allure of the photograph’s surface, the shimmering and captivating qualities that draw viewers in. Yet, beyond the aesthetics, Soth muses on the profound essence of the photographic medium—the process of capturing the ephemeral and rendering it tangible. His words serve as a poetic ode to the dance between light and time, the very foundation of photography, and its convergence with the physical realm of human perception.



“A Pound of Pictures” is an exuberant and introspective celebration of the photographic medium through the lens of Alec Soth. The book’s captivating imagery captures the essence of human existence in its diverse manifestations, from the spiritual to the mundane, the historical to the everyday. Soth’s journey serves as a profound reminder of the power of photography to crystallise moments, immortalize experiences, and bridge the gap between the ephemeral and the tangible. Seamlessly blending image and reflection, “A Pound of Pictures” becomes a visual and philosophical tapestry that invites readers to embrace the beauty of human experiences and contemplate the intricacies of the artistic process. Alec Soth’s work stands as a testament to the enduring allure of photography and its capacity to unveil the unexplored depths of our shared humanity.

Embossed linen hardcover with front and back tip-in
Three different papers, including a marbled Japanese stock and five randomised replica vernacular photographs
25.3 x 31 cm, 156 pages

ISBN 978-1-913620-11-0
January 2022
€70 £55 $75

Click here to purchase

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Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]