dinsdag 29 december 2009

Something old, something new: the year's 2009 best photography books

Blackpool, 1982 by Chris Steele-Perkins, from his book England, My England. Photograph © Chris Steele-Perkins / Magnum

Something old, something new: the year's best photography books

From reissues of classic editions to an eye-opening collection of mobile-phone snaps, photography books in 2009 captured a medium in flux. Sean O'Hagan picks his favourites

In 2009, photography grappled more than ever with the notion that the mobile phone, rather than the cheap digital camera, may yet make photographers of us all. It seemed apposite, then, that it was also a year in which old masters reasserted their importance with books that reminded us that the truly visionary are few and far between.

In many ways, the year belonged to Robert Frank. Now 85, the Swiss-born photographer was garlanded with a major American touring show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of his classic work The Americans. The catalogue, Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans (Steidl, £49.90), is, hands down, my photography book of the year. Complete with absorbing essays, personal letters – to the likes of Jack Kerouac and Walker Evans – and contact sheets that show off Frank's extraordinary eye for the telling vignette, it is a must for anyone with an interest in photography's past and present.

The other big American photography book of the year has just been published. Irving Penn's Small Trades (Getty, £34.99) is a valediction of sorts for the great man, who died in October. Though better known for his fashion photography, Penn started the Small Trades project in 1950, photographing everyday subjects – plumbers, cleaners, shop assistants – in their work clothes between style shoots for French Vogue in his rented Parisian studio. Shot in austere blacks, whites and greys, the portraits possess a cumulative power that is full of quiet dignity, and subtler than Richard Avedon's similar images of American workers. (Intriguingly, one of the scouts who went out on the streets of Paris to select and then persuade the workers to pose was a young Robert Doisneau.)

Closer to home, the English were the subjects of two intriguing books: Simon Roberts's We English (Chris Boot, £40) and Chris Steele-Perkins's England, My England (Nothumbria Press, £30). Roberts' book is a kind of gentle celebration, its images captured on a large-format 5x4-inch camera and owing as much to the English landscape painting tradition as any photographic precedent. It's a grower. Steele-Perkins, a Magnum veteran, opts for a more sweeping documentary approach that shows the English at work and at play over the last four decades. By turns gritty and evocative, it is a book one imagines that Orwell would have liked very much. Another Magnum name,Philip Jones Griffiths, who died in 2008, is celebrated in Recollections (Trolley Books, £39.95). Renowned for his photojournalism from the Vietnam war, Jones Griffiths also travelled around Britain from the 1950s onwards, and this book shows off the range of his vision, from the hysteria of Beatlemania to the dogged war of attrition that were Northern Ireland's Troubles. In the main, though, this presents a gentler side of a photographer best known for his work at the eye of storm of battle.

If I had to choose one book of political photojournalism published this year, though, it would have to be Howard Bingham's Black Panthers 1968 (Ammo, £29.95). Bingham spent a year recording the Panthers' brief ascendancy during the radical ferment of 1968, and his images of the likes of Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale and Eldridge and the incredibly stylish Kathleen Cleaver are a wonderful portrait of a revolutionary time that seems long gone. Also in the late 60s, Danny Lyons was also doing some of his best work, most notably as a documenter of, and participant in, the American Civil Rights movement, as well as a chronicler of outlaw motorcycle gangs. Memories of Myself (Phaidon, £45) is a retrospective of some of his lesser-known photo essays, including images from the time he spent recording the lives of women who worked in a Colombian brothel. A pioneer of the edgy style of insider reportage, who immersed himself in his subject matter, Lyon deserves to be more widely known. This is a good place to start.

Best collaboration of the year must go to Anders Petersen and JH Engstrom, for their book From Back Home (Max Ström, £45). Engstrom started out as Petersen's assistant in the early 1990s, and it turned out they both came from the same area of Sweden, the mostly rural Varmlands. Thirty years separates them, but both of them set out to evoke their sense of home and belonging. The book is an uneven but always intriguing exploration of family, landscape and identity. Even more personal, and quirkier still, is Adam Bartos's Yard Sale Photographs (Damiani, €39), which does exactly what it says on the cover. Bartos is a master of the poetic mundane, and his camera captures the yard sale – the American equivalent of the car-boot – in close-up, in all its tacky and oddly beautiful detail. Never before has a discarded tennis racket held such visual poetry.

Finally, a book that is utterly of the moment but oddly timeless: Joel Grey's 1.3: Images From my Phone (Powerhouse Books, £21.99). Having found himself wandering though a small museum in Florida without his camera, Grey – a former actor who won an Oscar in 1972 – resorted to his Nokia 133. The images were so surprising that he kept shooting on his phone for seven months. The result is this engaging book, a kind of vivid and gritty visual diary of his travels. "For me, taking pictures is like asking questions", he says on his website. The questions he asks with his Nokia don't differ that much from the ones he asks on his Nikon – and that, in itself, may be the biggest question of all regarding the future of photography.

zaterdag 26 december 2009

Schiphol Company Photography Graphic Design Fré Cohen

Bron:Bro 1991/22 fol [brochure] (ReclameArsenaal [IISG])

Fré Cohen (Amsterdam 1903 - Hengelo 1943) grew up in a jewish social democratic environment. She had office jobs at publishing houses of the workers' movement and studied typography in the evenings. Actively involved in the Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale (AJC, Workers' Youth Central), she designed many of its brochures and periodicals. In 1927 she was among the founders of the Socialistische Kunstenaars Kring (SKK, Socialist Artists' Circle), together with Jan W. Jacobs. The works donated are from this period. In these same years, Cohen designed many publications for the municipality of Amsterdam. In 1943 she was betrayed and arrested by the Germans, and subsequently committed suicide.

donderdag 24 december 2009

the Art of the Year 2009 Photography Rosan Hollak Eddie Marsman

Kunst van het jaar: Fotografie

NRC artikel | Woensdag 23-12-2009 | Sectie: Overig | Pagina: 09 | Rosan Hollak

1. Sally Mann: The Family and The Land (Fotomuseum Den Haag). Op haar geboortegrond Virginia vangt Mann schoonheid en vergankelijkheid in alledaagse beelden. Geweldig.

2. Leonie Purchas: In the Shadow of Things (Foam). Brits talent Purchas legt de obsessieve-compulsieve stoornis van haar moeder vast. Indrukwekkend.

3. Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946-2004 (Foam). Knallende overzichtstentoonstelling van Amerikas beroemdste portretfotograaf.

4. Duane Michals: Overzichtstentoonstelling (Fotografiefestival Arles). Michals onderzoekt met humoristische series het wezen van de fotografie.

5. Otto Snoek: Why Not (Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam). Feestend Nederland haarscherp en trefzeker door de camera gevangen.

Foto-onderschrift: Sally Mann: Family and Land

NRC artikel | Woensdag 23-12-2009 | Sectie: Overig | Pagina: 09 | Eddie Marsman

1. Otto Snoek: Why Not. Vlijmscherpe, bijna ranzige fotos van Hollands feestgebeuren: dansen, graaien, eten, drinken, flirten.

2. Elliot Erwitt: Retrospective. Groots overzicht van Magnum-fotograaf Erwitt (1928) dat laat zien hoe moeilijk het is een humoristische foto te maken - en hoe goed hij daar soms toch in slaagt.

3. Edward Burtynsky: Oil. Beklemmend beeldverhaal in kleur over de rol van olie in de samenleving, van winning en distributie tot gebruik en bovenal: gevolgen.

4. Arjan de Nooy: De facto. (Uitgeverij IJzer). Scheikundige De Nooy verzamelt vergeten fotografenoeuvres en morrelt daarmee lekker aan de canon van het vak.

5. Stefan Vanfleteren: Portret 1989 - 2009. Muzikanten, kunstenaars en politici, gezien door een van de beste portretfotografen van dit moment. Ook het (zeer) lijvige boekwerk is imposant.

Foto-onderschrift: Otto Snoek: Why Not

Op dit artikel rust auteursrecht van NRC Handelsblad BV, respectievelijk van de oorspronkelijke auteurs.

the Notable PhotoBooks of 2009 by Dutch Photographers ...

School by Raimond Wouda (Nazraeli) A Technicolor teenage riot .. by Alec Soth and 5B4

In this Dark Wood by Elisabeth Tonnard. One of my favorite discoveries of the year. I need to get her other books now... by 5B4

The Dutch nominees PhotoEspaña 2009 are :

WHY NOT - Otto Snoek

So Blue So Blue – Ad van Denderen

Korrie Besems – A Contrived Past

Erik Kessels – In Almost Every Picture

Edwin Zwakman – Benthem Crouwel

At first sight, the photos of artist Edwin Zwakman seem documentary: a backyard, a kitchen or breakfast table photographed in a traditional manner. A second look reveals certain details or a perspective that does not quite fit. Zwakman confuses the viewer by photographing a scale model as if it is the real building. Fascinated by this procedure, Benthem Crouwel asked Zwakman for a photo project featuring the three buildings by this architectural office that are included in the Dutch miniature city of Madurodam: the High Speed Train Bridge over Hollandsch Diep, Schiphol Airport, and the future Utrecht Central Station. The scale models are simplified, subjected to weather and populated by merry, slanting dolls. Here, Zwakman meticulously sought out typical Benthem Crouwel qualities such as transparency, visible construction and harmonious interaction between large-scale and the individual.

maandag 21 december 2009

Objects of Desire the best Photobooks of the decade Martin Parr Gerry Badger Photography

What were the best photobooks of the decade? We asked Martin Parr, who's probably done more than anyone else to promote the photobook, to explain why the Noughties are their golden age ... read for more ...

Ryan McGinley, self-published, 2000
Leigh Ladare, ppp Editions, 2008
John Gossage, Loosestrife, 2004
Viviane Sassen, Contrasto, 2008
Sassen was brought up in Mozambique and has returned to Africa to shoot these strange and graphic portraits. Sometimes posed and sometimes caught, these photographs are combined with a stunning design, in which many of the pages are cut, to produce a strange and compelling book. Her portraits are so original it is difficult to place them.
Rinko Kawauchi, Little More, 2001
Dash Snow, Peres Projects, 2007
See for Saatchi Online DASH SNOW'S POLAROIDS ...
Christien Meindertsma, Soeps Uitgevererij, 2004
This remarkable conceptual project documents 3624 objects Meindertsma bought at auction for EUR200. All of them had been confiscated at Schipol airport during the stringent security checks initiated after 9/11. The book was published in an edition of roughly 1000, and one of the featured objects was given away free with each copy.
Stephen Gill, Nobody, 2005
Geert van Kesteren, Artimo, 2004
This is the most compelling new book to deal with war in the last ten years, and has a feel of a magazine, with thin paper and serrated edges that all add to its immediacy. The title comes from the phrase that van Kesteren heard shouted at him many times as moved round Iraq.
Paul Graham, Steidl/Mack, 2007

Gerry Badger co-authored The Photobook: A History with Martin Parr. So we asked him for his take on the decade's top 10 ... read for more ...

Miyako Ishiuchi, Sokyu-sha, 2002
John Gossage, Nazraeli Press, 2002
Sophie Calle, Actes Sud, 2007
Rinko Kawauchi, Little More, 2002
Susan Meiselas, Steidl, 2008
Paul Graham, Steidl, 200
Geert van Kesteren, Episode Books, 2008
The new photojournalism - a professional photographer using cellphone and 'citizen reporter' images to tell us the truth about post-Saddam life in Baghdad.
JH Engstrom, Journal, 2003
Martin Parr, Mavi Jeans, 2006
Jules Spinatsch, Lars Muller, 2005v

zondag 20 december 2009

Lessons to learn Street Photography Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. Born in New York in 1938, he began photographing in 1962, becoming a “street photographer” in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. However, Meyerowitz works exclusively in colour.

As an early (mid-60s) advocate of colour photography, Meyerowitz was instrumental in transforming a general resistance to colour film into an almost universal acceptance. His first book, Cape Light, is considered a classic of colour photography and has sold more than 100,000 copies over its 25-year life. He has also produced 14 other books, including Bystander: The History of Street Photography, and Tuscany: Inside the Light.

In 1998 he produced and directed his first film, POP – an intimate diary of a three-week road trip Meyerowitz made with his son, Sasha, and father, Hy. The central character of this odyssey is an unpredictable, street-wise, witty 87 year-old with a failing memory. POP is both a clear-eyed look at aging and a meditation on the significance of memory.

Within a few days of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Meyerowitz began to create an archive of the destruction and recovery in and around Ground Zero. The World Trade Center Archive now includes over 8,000 images, and will be available for research, exhibition, and publication at museums in New York and Washington, DC.

The only photographer to be granted unimpeded access to Ground Zero after September 13, 2001, Meyerowitz takes a meditative stance toward the work and workers there, systematically documenting the painful work of rescue, recovery, demolition and excavation.

The US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs asked the Museum of the City of New York and Meyerowitz to create a special exhibition of images from the archive, to send around the world.

The 28 images that make up “After September 11: Images from Ground Zero”, presented in a 30 inch x 40 inch format, relate the catastrophic destruction of the attacks to the physical, human dimensions of the recovery effort. Each is its own, succinct reminder of the magnitude of destruction and loss brought by the attacks, and the heroic nature of the response. Together, they serve as a stunning reminder of that extraordinary day, and the days that followed.

Between 2001 and 2004, the exhibition traveled to more than 200 cities in 60 countries, and was seen by over three and a half million people.

In addition to the travelling shows, Meyerowitz was invited to represent the United States at the 8th Venice Biennale for Architecture, along with images from the archive. In September 2002, he exhibited 73 images – some as large as 22 feet wide – in lower Manhattan.

The Venice show is now touring the US, and in September 2006 Phaidon Press published 450 of Meyerowitz’s World Trade Center Archive photographs in a monumental book: “Aftermath.”

Meyerowitz is a Guggenheim fellow and a recipient of both the NEA and NEHawards. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others.

zaterdag 19 december 2009

Sarajevo Hiroshima Berlin Bikini Island Chernobyl Khe San and My Lai Memory Traces by Cary Markerink Photography

Lees verder ...
Bikini Island, Shattered Coral 1999

Bikini Atoll, Aomen Island, Observation Bunker Bravo H-bomb Test Shot 1999

Bikini Island, Clouds over Bikini Lagoon 1999

Chernobyl, Control Panel Reactor 4 2000

Chernobyl, Control Room Reactor 4 2000

Chernobyl, Rozsokha, Graveyard for Contaminated Equipment 2000

Memory Traces is the title of my recent publication, in which I relate to notions about landscape, culture, history and memory. Memory Traces is an unconventional photo-book, composed to be an experience, in which a selection of landscape photographs are combined with a multi-layered range of texts which include excerpts from travelogues, ‘written photographs’ and a short story situated in the art-world which, among other things, deals with 'The Artification of Photography' and ‘The End of Silver-based Photography’. In a second separate booklet a Chernobyl family album of found negatives has been reproduced.

The large format photographs were made in Sarajevo; Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Berlin, Bitterfeld-Wolfen and Ronneburg; Bikini Island and Nam Island; Chernobyl; Khe San and My Lai. See for a review (Dutch) by Hans Aarsman ... & by Mrs Deane :

of tomes and tombs: memory traces by cary markerink (part one)

Photography & text Cary Markerink, Amsterdam
Designed by Irma Boom Office, Amsterdam

Published by Ideas on Paper, Amsterdam / Hoofddorp

Printed by 1455 Fine Art Printers, Hasselt

Oversized Clothbound Hardcover

30,5 x 41 cm / 12 x 16 inch

202 pages, 8 gate-folds + 5 double gate-folds,

together with two small booklets, 'Höffding Step' and 'Dark Star'

12x16 cm / 4,7x6,3 inch each

in a printed box.

Publishing date December 13th 2009

English edition

ISBN/EAN 978-94-90506-01-8

Cary Markerink In the beginning of the 70th, after a period of indecisiveness whether to continue in painting or to explore the profession of film making, Cary Markerink dedicated himself to photography. He finished the Gerrit Rietveld Art school in 1978. In the same year his project 'City stills' which he started during his Art School period was honored an assignment by the Municipal City Council of Amsterdam, a project in which he broke with the then general practice of so called 'social photography'.
His photography mostly combines a distinct interest in the formal aspects of the medium combined with the stance of an outsider looking at the visual by-effects caused by the behavior of the society he is living in.
In 1981 he was cofounder of Fragment Publishers which aimed at reviving the then almost extinct tradition of the author photo-book in the Netherlands.
In 1991 he received the Amsterdam Maria Austria price for his landscape photography.

Some of the projects he realized are:

vrijdag 18 december 2009

Paul Schuitema Company Design Berkel Gispen Rotterdam Photography

Paul Schuitema Ontwerpen voor Rotterdamse bedrijven
Dick Maan, John van der Ree Edited by Frederique Huygen Designed by Hans van der Markt
Dutch 24 pp / 250 x 170 mm / folded ISBN 90 6450 049 5 published 1986, out of print

Paul Schuitema was one of the most important pioneers of the New Typography. In the second half of the twenties he became affiliated workwise with the typographical innovations launched, for example, in Russia by Lissitzky and Rodchenko, in Poland by Berlewi, in Germany by Schwitters and in the Netherlands by Zwart. In this publication of the Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam especial attention has been paid to the application of these new ideas to advertising, in which Schuitema played a vital role. It offers a survey of the work he carried out for a number of Rotterdam concerns.

Paul Schuitema behoorde tot de belangrijkste pioniers van de Nieuwe Typografie. In de tweede helft van de jaren twintig sloot hij met zijn werk aan bij de typografische vernieuwingen die, o.a. in Rusland door Lissitzky en Rodchenko, in Polen door Berlewi, in Duitsland door Schwitters en in Nederland door Zwart op gang waren gebracht. In deze uitgave van het Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam wordt vooral aandacht besteed aan de toepassingen van die vernieuwingen in de reclame, waarin Schuitema een zeer belangrijke rol vervulde. Het biedt een overzicht van het werk dat Schuitema verzorgde voor een aantal Rotterdamse bedrijven.

donderdag 17 december 2009

Evidence a witty and provocative look at contemporary American culture Larry Sultan Photography

In 1977, photographers Larry Sultan (USA) and Mike Mandel (USA) published a book of photographs entitled Evidence. Accompanied by an exhibition in the same year at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, this project was the culmination of a three-year search through the files and archives of over one hundred American government agencies, educational institutions, and corporations, such as the Bechtel Corporation, General Atomic Company, Jet Propulsion Laboratories, the San Jose Police Department and the United States Department of the Interior.

The original pictures Sultan and Mandel collected were made as documents and objective records of activities and situations: the scenes of crimes, aeronautical engineering tests, industrial experiments, among other subjects. Sifting through some two million images, Mandel and Sultan assembled a careful sequence of 59 pictures.

Evidence is, as the artists stated back in the 1970s, ‘a poetic exploration upon the restructuring of imagery.’ Pictures that once served a functional purpose in the world are, in this exhibition, stripped of their explanatory captions and institutional contexts, carefully sequenced, and presented as expressive artefacts. In this new setting, the images testify to cryptic and dubious rituals, to a culture of dehumanising, ambiguous institutional values, to mid-century industry regarded as a religion.

Although the exhibition carefully articulates the reading of the photographs in terms of their ‘documentary’ origins, the photographs are reproduced without captions identifying specific images or their sources. The photographs here serve as answers to questions long ago abandoned. Faced with a world of mysterious events and unfathomable activities, we are provided with only the sequential narrative of the book and are actively required to participate in creating its meaning.

Evidence. Photographs by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel. Text by Sandra Phillips and Robert Forth, Distributed Art Publishers’, New York, 2003. 108 pp., 25 black-and-white and 61 duotone illustrations, 9¾x9″.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- c reported that one of its most beloved faculty members, Larry Sultan, died of cancer on Sunday. He was a distinguished professor in both the undergraduate Photography Program and the Graduate Program in Fine Arts and had taught at CCA since 1988.

Tammy Rae Carland, chair of the Photography Program, says, "Larry Sultan was one of the most compassionate, generous educators I've ever known. He was a great mentor, a great teacher, a great colleague. He had a lot of success in his own career but continued to be vital to the Photography Program. He really cared about its pedagogical development, about keeping it current and lively. He was incredibly generous with his students, always sharing his network, his experience, his connections. He got a tremendous amount of pleasure out of teaching."

Sandra S. Phillips, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, says, "Larry Sultan was a leading figure in the Bay Area art community. He was one of our great friends and a gifted artist. His work has been shown in our museum regularly since the 1970s. His responses to our world have always been both intensely personal and wonderfully humane, accessible, intelligent, and sympathetic."

Larry Sultan was born in New York in 1946 and moved with his family to Southern California in 1949. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He received a BA in 1968 from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MFA in 1973 from the San Francisco Art Institute. In San Francisco he was represented by Stephen Wirtz Gallery.

In addition to his teaching career and extensive commercial work for 'W Magazine', 'Vanity Fair', and other important clients, he produced a large and widely influential body of personal work. His first major project was a collaboration with the artist Mike Mandel: a book of appropriated photographs titled 'Evidence' and a subsequent exhibition organized by SFMOMA in 1977. The pictures came from the files of government agencies, corporations, and research institutions, offering a witty and provocative look at contemporary American culture.

In 1992 Sultan compiled the book and accompanying exhibition "Pictures from Home". The decade-long project began when his father, a vice president at Schick Safety Razor Company, was forced into early retirement. Sultan started by photographing his parents and their home lives, then expanded the undertaking to include extensive diaristic writing, family artifacts, and stills from his parents' home movies.

Working in the San Fernando Valley on "Pictures from Home" led Sultan to his next project, "The Valley", an investigation of suburban houses used as sets for pornographic films. Like "Pictures from Home", the project focused on Southern California culture, engaging ideas of truth, fantasy, and artifice in the context of home and middle-class domesticity. "The Valley" was presented at SFMOMA in 2004 as a solo exhibition of more than 50 large-scale photographs shot between 1999 and 2003. In the pictures, mundane objects such as a roll of paper towels or a bored woman in high heels become symbolically charged, inviting speculation.

Sultan exhibited internationally throughout his career. His work is in the collections of SFMOMA; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Modern, London. He received numerous grants and awards, including five NEA grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Louis Tiffany Comfort Award, and a Fleishhacker Fellowship.

Ironische blik op omgeving

Larry Sultan (1946-2009), fotograaf

Sandra Smallenburg

Necrologie | Woensdag 16-12-2009 | Sectie: Kunst | Pagina: 09 | Sandra Smallenburg

Fotograaf Larry Sultan gebruikte zijn ouders als symbool voor het naoorlogse Amerika. Hij had een directe, harde stijl.

Merkwaardig toch dat hij er op iedere foto ouder uitziet dan ik eruit zie als ik zo oud ben als hij, schreef de Amerikaanse fotograaf Larry Sultan in het begin van zijn boek Pictures from Home (1992) over zijn vader Irvin. Jarenlang had Sultan zijn ouders met de camera gevolgd in hun Californische buitenwijk. Genadeloos had hij hun gezapige leven vastgelegd in felrealistische fotos: vader die luiert bij het zwembad of golf speelt op het hoogpolige tapijt van de woonkamer. Moeder - gefacelift en nog altijd slank - die in de keuken een kalkoen bereidt. En dat ene, fraaie portret van zijn vader, Dad on Bed, van een man strak in pak op de rand van het bed die een tergend uitgebluste indruk maakt. Nu blijkt dat Larry Sultan nooit meer de leeftijd zal bereiken die zijn vader toen had. Hij overleed afgelopen zondag in zijn woonplaats Greenbrae in Californië aan de gevolgen van kanker, op 63-jarige leeftijd.

Met zijn directe stijl, zijn harde kleurgebruik en persoonlijke onderwerpkeuze was Sultan van grote invloed op de generatie fotografen na hem. Al lang voor Richard Billingham koos hij zijn eigen familie als studieobject. En ver voor Martin Parr bevroeg hij het auteurschap van fotografie door met gevonden beelden te werken. Zijn eerste boek Evidence (1977) bestond uit documentaire fotos die hij uit beeldbanken van bedrijven en instanties had geplunderd.

Sultan was geboren in Brooklyn, maar groeide op in de San Fernando Valley in Californië. Zijn vader was een vertegenwoordiger die zich opwerkte tot onderdirecteur van de scheermesjesfabriek Schick, zijn moeder een huisvrouw die op latere leeftijd carrière maakte als makelaar. De Sultans stonden, met hun gestage stijging op de sociale ladder, symbool voor het naoorlogse Amerika. Dat begreep Sultan goed toen hij begin jaren tachtig zijn ouders begon te volgen in een project dat tien jaar zou duren.

In 2004 verscheen het fotoboek The Valley, waarvoor Sultan een minder gezapige kant van het leven in de San Fernando Valley vastlegde. Hij bezocht de talloze sets voor pornofilms die ook in de villas van suburbia te vinden zijn. En ook uit deze fotos sprak de ironische blik waarmee Sultan zijn omgeving bekeek. Porno was in zijn ogen vooral iets lamlendigs.

Foto-onderschrift: Sultan: Sharon Wild (2003)
Persoon: Larry Sultan

Op dit artikel rust auteursrecht van NRC Handelsblad BV, respectievelijk van de oorspronkelijke auteur.