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Alec Soth has had an enviable year. In March, the 35-year-old American photographer's pictures of life on the Mississippi were the hit of the Whitney Biennial in New York City. In June, he was made a nominee of Magnum Photos—the first step to becoming a full member of the prestigious co-operative, and the photography equivalent of landing a junior fellowship at Oxford. Then, in August, his book Sleeping by the Mississippi was published to widespread acclaim (the Washington Post spoke reverently of Soth's "Old Master formality"). The next stop is England, where Soth's Mississippi exhibition runs at the Open Eye...

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