Alec Soth is an outstanding American photographer and a member of the legendary Magnum Photos agency. Carrying out projects that are a kind of "road photography", Soth mainly traverses the province of the United States, showing seemingly banal places and people, whom critic Hilarie M. Sheets described in The New York Times as "loners and dreamers".
The Broken Manual series took 4 years (2006-2010). It presents figures of men who wanted to move away from the so-called "normal" world and lived in remote areas. The resulting portraits are documents depicting a person's choice.
Alec Soth has the amazing ability to gain the trust of these people, and this has given him access to their closed world. The heroes of this project open up to him, often telling stories about their lives. They allow him to photograph them in very natural conditions and in their "unusual" environment. Because he uses a multi-format camera that takes a lot of time to set up and configure, he could use that time to talk to the photographed people, allowing them to get used to himself, to make them feel at ease.
The author himself has fantasized many times about the life that people in his photos lead. He wanted to feel the freedom he felt during his childhood, and living in a remote area, apart from civilization and omnipresent rules and laws, gave him the feeling of freedom he longed for.