Larry Sultan has greatly influenced the perception of photography. He has explored various topics in progressive approaches, which go beyond common techniques of aestheticizing an image into a ‘way of seeing’. His photographs have explored intensely personal ideas of American culture and marital relationships as well as sexuality at large. In his book “Pictures From Home” he photographed his own family to show the mythology of the suburban landscape. By juxtaposing documentary images with staged photography he successfully depicted complex ideas and relationships, which would have been unattainable in either medium; this book, published in 1992, was greatly influential on the growing trend of staging photographs and their relationship to reality. In his next large series “The Valley” Sultan gained explicit entry into the adult pornographic industry, producing stunning compositions, which shows the falsehood of these films, produced for sexual pleasure. These images juxtaposed against each other show the intensely complex relationship of reality and fantasy, suburbia and preconceived notions of perfection. Sultan passed away in 2009.
Text written by Cole Tracy