Thursday 7 October 2010

Brighton Photo Biennial - Alec Soth talks to Martin Parr

In this brilliant podcast from Daylight Magazine, Martin Parr interviews acclaimed photographer Alec Soth. As part of the Brighton Photo Biennial 2010, Soth was commissioned by Photoworks to be included in the exhibition "Strange and Familiar." For his contribution to the show, Soth collaborated with his daughter, Carmen, to produced a project titled "Brighton Picture Hunt," for which the father-daughter team explored and photographed the towns of Brighton & Hove.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months you will be aware that Alec had some problems with his Visa and was denied permission to work in the UK. If you still don´t know what I´m talking its probably a good idea to have a read of this article in The Guardian to get up-to-speed. To put it simply, that he was barred from taking photographs is outrageous. Why are our border authorities curbing temporary visits by non-EU artists in this way? Thankfully Alec managed to sidestep this regulation in such a clever and inventive way. But then again, there are those that see this whole scenario in an entirely different light. Here is some food for thought from Foto 8 on Twitter:

@Foto8 Soth commission wasn't free. Did his daughter earn it? Not according to " the customs official", What happened to those public thousands?

@Foto8 Alex Soth Brighton tale smells bogus... 2 yrs jail, work permit, 7 yr old, vernacular photography. What says public funded BPB? Mr Parr??

@Foto8 How can picture of Brighton be vernacular if the indigenous photographer is not asked to shoot them.#bogusphotospeak

@Foto8 So apparently its ok to pay a seven year old child labourer in UK and not a commissioned artist? If no pay then customs law is rubbish.

@Foto8 Firstly why does Brighton need to be shot by Soth and secondly how does his daughter not break the same bogus law?

"Independent, outspoken, unfettered" reads the descriptor on their Twitter account profile. Good on them.