Alec Soth & Lester B. Morrison – Broken Manual
Published by Steidl, 2010
I just got this book this past weekend at the NY Art Book Fair. I was hesitant to purchase it since it is fairly expensive, but I eventually realized I would buy it once it was officially released and it is kind of nice having it immediately. Broken Manual seems at first like a pretty decent departure from Soth’s past work and books; while it is still published by Steidl and of course well made, it has an entirely different aesthetic. It feels to me like a meshing of The Last Days of W and Niagara. I was a little uneasy about seeing this work for the first time, the work isn’t entirely devoid of his style, but it does stray from his proven approach working. After spending a bit of time flipping through it and reading some of the texts, the book is beginning to feel almost like what Soth wanted to do with Niagara, but was a bit hesitant or not ready to make back then. Prematurely, I have to say this is my favorite book of his work to date; it feels more evolved and original than his straighter approach to photographing. I really enjoy the design and tactility of the book, but it does maybe come across as heavy-handed with the journal-esque quality. I’m looking forward to seeing what others have to say about this book once it is officially released.
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