Alec Soth’s reputation as one of the leading lights of contemporary photographic practice is largely predicated on the books he has published. This unusual catalogue accompanies a touring exhibition which uses the four major bodies of work which Soth has published as books since 2004 as the structural basis for both a mid-career retrospective and an investigation of Soth’s prescient understanding of the various and distinct applications of photography as a tool for storytelling across diverse media. The title of the exhibition comes from Walt Whitman’s poem Song of Myself  and references both the pages of his books gathered for consideration and the notion that his work is also a story about Soth himself.
Soth's meteoric rise to international acclaim began with his first book,Sleeping by the Mississippi, published by Steidl in 2004. The book has sold through numerous print runs and has long been out-of-print. It embodies not only a moment in which a new and original voice emerged with an unusual ability to transpose subtle and highly personal stories of local American life, but also marked a significant early event in the photo-book publishing boom we are currently experiencing. The success of his two subsequent volumes, Niagara and Broken Manual , combined with the hugely influential exploration of self-publishing under his Little Brown Mushroom imprint, have all reinforced Soth’s position as a master of the book form. The recent success of Songbook  has seen a return to the mainstream of book publishing.