In 2005, I went to Nepal to try to photograph Nepal's Maoist rebels. Lodged in their mountain safe areas, they had already fought a decadelong insurgency against the Kathmandu-based establishment. What started out as a poorly armed, ragtag rebel movement had by that time fought the Nepali army and armed police forces to a bloody stalemate. More than 10,000 lives had been lost, the human rights of thousands violated, but at that time no end seemed in sight—neither the more than 200-year-old Hindu monarchy nor the democratic party establishment could quash the rebel movement, and the Maoist insurgents couldn't militarily take over Kathmandu.
The images in photographer Alec Soth’s Niagara are less about natural wonder than about human desire. "I went to Niagara for the same reason as the honeymooners and suicide jumpers," says Soth. "[T]he relentless thunder of the falls just calls for big passion." While the subject may be intense, these are quiet pictures. Using a large-format 8-by-10 camera, the photographs are rigorously composed and richly detailed. Working over the course of two years, on both the American and Canadian sides of the falls, Soth captures newlyweds and naked lovers, motel parking lots and pawnshop wedding rings, as well as a collection of discarded love letters. His pictures offer a remarkable portrayal of modern love and its aftermath. (Note: This gallery contains some nudity.)