A story lies behind everything we see. Yet few are able to capture that feeling or a point of view and express it not in words but in a picture. Here are five who have gained a wide following for seeing things most have probably overlooked.
Alec Soth Photography
856 Raymond Avenue Unit D
Saint Paul, MN 55114
“Serendipitous wandering” has drawn a national following to Alec Soth. The first such recognition came from Whitney Museum of American Art in 2004 when they saw his book, “Sleeping by the Mississippi.” Soth (rhymes with “both”) enjoys exploring what he calls the social landscape of the country and being drawn to people and engaging with them. “America is more complicated than people give it credit. It is filled with nuances, cultural variations, complexities and richness,” he says.
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Sensitive and simple subjects such as the wispy leaves of an olive branch or a man resting are captured and communicated in a way that can only be done by a true master. Using a massive five-by-seven view camera, laying out multiple panels of different exposures, creatively bringing portions of her subject in and out of focus are not noticed by the untrained eye but the end product of this technical mastery is truly moving. Verburg’s photographs are ephemeral, transient and fragile. “I let myself go where my impulses draw me,” she tells the New York Times, “Living—being alive—is a present-tense enterprise.”
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2501 Stevens Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Traveling to the birthplace of her parents in Ukraine forever changed Katherine Turczan. Returning every year since 1991, Turczan has taken portraits of individuals in a nation reeling from the oppression of another country into the painfully slow evolution of a new and freer society. “Returning to Ukraine is like watching an adolescent child transition into an adult,” says Turczan. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as many other prominent collections. Turczan received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011.
Department of Art at the University of Minnesota
405 21st Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
“New Documentary” photographer Paul Shambroom expresses a viewpoint about American power and culture. American and international museums have noticed and displayed his photographs. Two monographs, “Face-to-Face with the Bomb: Nuclear Reality After the Cold War” and “Paul Shambroom: Picturing Power” document physical power of a military-industrial society. His “Meetings” monograph probes deeply into the embodiment of power during the activity of the meeting. Shambroom tells his many students to explore their world, learn about themselves and express their curiosity.
Wing Young Huie
THE THIRD PLACE
3730 Chicago Ave. S., Studio B
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Huie interacts with people in many more ways than as a photographer, constantly finding new ways to connect, comment and reflect on who we are as a people. His innovative six-mile projects—taking hundreds of photos of people along a six-mile strip and posting them—reflect the character of a neighborhood. A collaborative blog combining photography with sociological writings of U of M professor Doug Hartmann explores the human condition in ways not attempted before. Huie’s most recent workshop, Game Face, was all about building self-awareness for 75 at-risk kids through photography. “I am not a documentary photographer,” says Huie, “but my photographs are documentary.” Lectures, diversity workshops and his Third Place Gallery round out the many roles that Huie plays in telling us who we are.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.