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Alec Soth in Paris, Minnesota

Artist Statement:

In 2007, I started work on a large scale fashion project. The idea was to produce an entire fashion magazine of my own pictures, including the ads. The art director wanted me to shoot in Paris. On my first day I was scheduled to photograph backstage at a Dior runway show. I’d never been to a fashion show before and didn’t understand the backstage politics. Within an hour I was thrown out by security.

The more I worked in Paris, the more aware I was of my identity as a lifelong Minnesotan. Rather than being ashamed of this, I wanted to make it part of the project. Fashion is simply the way we present ourselves to the world. For me, the fashion choices of someone in Duluth are as worthy of investigation as those of someone in Paris. I’d go further and say I feel this way about culture generally.

Like countless photographers, from Atget in Paris to Walker Evans in Alabama, I’m more interested in the vernacular than I am in the de rigueur. With this exhibition at the Nemeth Art Center, I want to highlight this interest by exhibiting the photographs near where many of them were made. For context, I will also show a selection of photographs from Paris. I hope viewers will share my belief that the ordinary world around them is as rich and mysterious as the City of Light.