ABOVE: “St. Alphonsus Church. Brooklyn Center, Minnesota,” 2012. INSE T: Brad Zellar (left); Alec Soth (right) with a barber (center).
“Ibecame a photographer because I liked working alone,” says Alec Soth, one half of the photographer-writer team that created Little Brown Mushroom Dispatches, a series of seven ewspapers published between 2011–2014 that delve into
the culture of exurban communities in several U.S. states. Independence,
isolation and the impulse to run away from society have been themes in
Soth’s work. His 2010 book, Broken Manual, is a sort of guidebook for
people interested in living off the grid, in solitude. He created the book
over the course of five years, driving around in a van, seeking out people
who were uninterested in being found. Soth’s solitary impulse, however,
faded at some point. “I was just hungry for more interaction,” he says.
Brad Zellar, the writer behind Dispatches, shares Soth’s outsider
perspective. Before they started the project, Zellar had lived for eight
months in a cabin “with no heat or plumbing” with only his dog as a
companion. “Neither of us are really joiners or belongers,” says Zeller who,
like Soth, now lives in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
Though Soth and Zellar had worked on other publications together—
ALEC SOTH AND BRAD ZELLAR: PHOTOGRAPHER-WRITER TEAM