“Yeah, exactly,” he replied. “A photograph is a mystery, and I still feel that way. It doesn’t reveal a ton of information, but it kind of unleashes this exchange of energy, first between myself and the subject, and then later, hopefully, between the subject and the audience looking at the picture.”
That kind of magic has remained fixed in Soth’s work, but Soth himself is in a state of flux—about photography as a medium, the balance of his practice, and the way he makes portraits. The question he is asked the most, about how he approaches people, does not have a definitive answer. It changes with each project, and yes, it does still give him anxiety, though that has shifted, too, over the years.
Soth may have had an epiphany that decisively changed him, but how he negotiates that into his approach in the long-term still remains a work-in-progress. When I asked him if there’s anything about his practice that he’d still like to change, he answered: “I’m still unresolved about everything. There is no answer.”