My copy of Alec Soth’s and Brad Zellar’s first newspaper in the Dispatch series and self published through Soth’s Little Brown Mushroom, Ohio, got delivered today! I purposefully didn’t read too much into it before it arrived beyond the basic premise of the project, because I think its more exciting to view a photobook with fresh eyes whenever possible.
The newspaper is mostly made up of portraits of people that Soth and Zellar met whilst on their travels across the state of Ohio in May of this year; soldiers, volunteers at a soup kitchen, dancers, church congregations and Theology teachers, battle re-enactors and cards players. There is a huge amount of variety, as would be expected from meeting people in this way. However, what draws them all together is the sense that they are all trying to find ways to feel a sense of community and belonging in some way, or as Zellar describes it a ‘real world connection where loneliness seems increasingly to be an epidemic more corrosive than the popular culture that fuels it.’
Its something that I have been thinking a lot about lately; largely due to the fact that graduating has meant a return to a small town, much like those photographed by Soth across Ohio, where I have never truly felt a part of the community in any real way.
I don’t want to give too much away about it, but its definitely worth a purchase. Full of great portraits, even better stories and some interesting thoughts from Zellar too.