NEW YORK - Sotheby’s April 1st sale of Photographs in New York features five photographs by Larry Sultan, who is currently the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Larry Sultan: Here and Home. These photographs are from his seminal Pictures from Home series, and are collected in the book of the same title published in 1992. In a remarkably varied career that began with his conceptual excursions with Mike Mandel and extended through his brilliant, bleak documentation of the pornographic film industry and beyond, Pictures from Home is the one series within Sultan’s oeuvre that involved subject matter of a deeply personal nature: his aging mother and father. He began the series in 1983, after viewing home movies of his youth in the San Fernando Valley in the 1950s. Individual frames from these movies were juxtaposed in the book with Sultan’s own pictures of his parents, which were poised between objectivity and affection.
Sultan wrote, “What drives me to continue this work is difficult to name. It has more to do with love than with sociology, with being a subject in the drama rather than a witness . . . I realize that beyond the rolls of film and the few good pictures, the demands of my project and my confusion about its meaning, is the wish to take photography literally. To stop time. I want my parents to live forever” (Pictures from Home, p. 78).