"It's about the desire to run away," Alec Soth

Alec Soth and Lester B. Morrison, Broken Manual. Special edition ([Saint Paul, Minn.]: Little Brown Mushroom; Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2010). 1 volume (unpaged) housed in book safe. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process.

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“It is common for artists to follow up the publication of their books with ‘special editions.’ But in the case of Broken Manual, this edition is being presented first. Made in an edition of 300, Soth calls this the ideal edition of Broken Manual. Each copy is housed inside another, one-of-a-kind book … cut by hand. Inside the shell, there is also a small booklet entitled Liberation Billfold Manifest and a print signed and numbered by Alec Soth and Lester B. Morrison”—Steidl

From 2006 to 2010, Soth photographed the places in which people retreat to escape civilization including the homes of monks, survivalists, hermits and runaways. Working with the writer Lester B. Morrison, he created an underground instruction manual for those looking to escape their lives.

“300 copies of [the book] exist,” said Soth. “It was a really special project for me and I wanted the special edition to come out first. We made a book safe, cut out the pages of these books we bought, and you can hide this Broken Manual in the larger book. It was a huge ordeal to cut them out, and we made those, they exist, but the trade edition never came out. …The thing about a book is that you can control the entire shape of it, unlike an exhibition where the parameters always change.”