From the Photo Issue: The ‘LBM Dispatch’ Brings the Good News – By Alec Soth; Words by Brad Zellar
T he project that eventually morphed into the LBM Dispatch started as a lark and an experiment. On Alec’s birthday in December 2011, he texted me that he wanted to go on an adventure. A couple hours later, we were in his Honda Odyssey trolling the exurban fringes of the Twin Cities, pretending to be representatives of a small-town newspaper. The first “lead” we chased involved a cat that had been eluding rescuers for months, living on an island in the middle of one of the busiest freeway interchanges in the metropolitan area. This cat had assumed almost mythical status, and was purported to have survived only due to fate or a couple of remarkable strokes of luck: the island on which it had been marooned contained a freshwater pond, as well as the carcass of a deer that had apparently lacked either the cat’s good fortune or its survival skills.
As our luck would have it, on Christmas day, just before Alec’s birthday, there had been a break in the story. A suburban police officer had finally corralled the fugitive cat and transported the animal to a local shelter, where it had been christened Adam (after the rescuing officer, it turned out, but the name seemed fortuitous for our own purposes). We visited the island Adam had been stranded on, where we investigated and photographed the pond, the deer carcass, and a culvert under the freeway that—based on fresh paw prints—we surmised had been Adam’s shelter. We also paid a visit to the cat at his new, temporary home. His rather surly and uncooperative demeanor suggested that the cat had perhaps been captured rather than rescued, exiled rather than liberated.