I first came across the work of Larry Sultan a couple of years ago whilst doing some research on family portraits and family photography. I studied his series ‘Pictures from Home’ a body of work which looks at his parents life in suburbia, taken after his Father was forced into an early retirement. I had a brief knowledge on the background of Sultan’s photography but never gave any of his other series much thought.
Take a look at this interview by Roswell Angier who discusses ‘Pictures from Home’ with Larry Sultan.
A way of understanding Sultan as a practitioner is through his approach to intimate and private moments. His subjects always appear at ease, Sultan is one of those great photographers who is able to photograph in a non-intrusive way, where his subjects accept his presence rather than fight against it. ‘The Valley’ shot in the infamous San Fernando Valley during the late 90’s/ early 00’s is Sultan’s earlier work where Sultan photographs a series of behind the scenes shots from porn shoots, a little different to his family portraits.
Sultan takes stylised shots of the porn business, he observes as a voyeur taking an authoritive role, narrating the sets and the heart of the porn industry. There are some great articles out there about Sultan, unfortunately he hasn’t got his own website but I’ve picked a couple of paragraphs from an article I found on American Suburb X which discusses this body of work.
“Sex and work aren’t words you’d use in the same sentence unless you were talking about bad sex or an affair at the office, but they are words that best describe Larry Sultan’s recent photographs of porn shoots in and around the San Fernando Valley. Title The Valley, Sultan’s ongoing series conveys an unexpectedly workaday aspect of eroticism. Most of the 25 photos were taken on the sets of Thomas Paine Production, whose roster of stage names – Savage, Swift, Everhard – reads like a synopsis of the Kama Sutra, and whose product is a mythical world where every nightstand has a sex toy and every woman and man is willing. Great sex may be described by those who have it as pure bliss, but apparently, for those who’ve made a career out of having, or simulating it, the process is more laborious than blissful….
…..Sultan stands back from the action in several prints, employing an authorial distance. From this vantage point sex becomes inexplicit, little more than a blurry commotion in the background. At times it’s hard to tell the gender, or number, of people having sex, not to mention what specifically they’re doing to each other. The photographer has kept himself at arm’s length not out of coyness or detachment but as a way of establishing that sex is only one aspect of the world he’s documenting. It’s a world that doesn’t require our presence except as consumers; we’ve entered a tacit (and voyeuristic) agreement to look at these people but not interact, to gaze across a divide that both protects and segregates the observer and the observed. Distance tinges Sultan’s art with melancholy.”
You can buy Larry Sultan ‘The Valley’ as a hardcover book here.
If you like Larry Sultan ‘The Valley’ you should check out:
Work similar to this series, Barbara Nitke, if you like Larry Sultan it’s pretty much the same, just a racier version.
Music blogged to: Smoke Fairies ‘Blood Speaks’ 2012
The Product (Instant Iphone Lab):
Gadget lust, a great new gadget from the impossible project team. I couldn’t help getting excited about this great new product. The impossible team have managed to bring back Polaroid production and they have now managed to bridge the gap between digital and analog photography with the ‘instant lab’ meaning that an Iphone can now produce Polaroid images (and no this isn’t some crazy Instagram filter, an actual material object, a real Polaroid).
The Instant Lab, from Vision to Reality:
I received this update through the impossible project e-shot that arrived in my inbox a few days ago. Polaroid has always had a special place in my heart and I use my Iphone camera daily, so by combing the ability to turn my Iphoneography into real life instant photos makes my long lusted dream a reality.
However the dream doesn’t come for free and ultimately with prices starting at just under £100 I was a little disappointed but in all fairness once this Instant lab hits the manufacture belts I won’t be able to resist. Hallelujah for Polaroid and Hallelujah for Impossible film, making the impossible a reality.
Visit kickstarter.co.uk to view a video which explains this project and production in more detail.
If £100 is out of your budget but you would still like your Iphone pictures or Instagram photographs as material objects than a cheaper option would be to use Printsagram. Printsagram is a new app that has developed through the success of Instagram, it’s a reasonably priced printing service which takes your Instagram photography and turns your digital files into printed objects, prices start from as little as £8 for 48 square prints. Visit the Printsagram website here.
Music blogged to: ‘Caribou- Swim’ 2010
I’ve decided I should start my own blog, I’m all talk and no action, fur coat no knickers, all bark and no bite, so to put an end to this I will be writing and uploading blog posts a few times a week, eventually daily.
About me- I’m a photography graduate, based in London/Brighton, currently working in advertising and sales, I am also interning at Hotshoe International, a photography snob, arts writer and lover of printed matter and good self publishing (magazines, books and zines).
This post pretty much does what it says on the tin, an awkward first post. Slightly daunted by the idea of voicing my opinion outside the confinements of my own head or my small (very small) social group, I am currently staring at a big blank screen of nothing, not sure what to start with. So this post is a starting point.. Well at least it can’t get much worse than this.
I will be using this space to write about everything photography; exhibition reviews, artist and photographer portfolios, reporting on the latest book releases and photography news. Basically dedicating my time to showcasing contemporary photography and what’s on in the world of photography and arts.
Whilst I am getting to grips with ‘blogging’ check out my Twitter feed (@sophiajwise), you can follow me on Twitter here. Follow for tweets about everything photography, fashion, film and music related.
Music blogged to: Toy (2012)