Photographs and Literary Vignettes
by Scot Sothern
November 5- December 3, 2011
Reception and Book Signing
Saturday, November 5, 7-10 pm
presents Lowlife, a gritty, black and white photographic
journey though the motels and back alleys of street prostitution.
Lowlife will be on display November 5th through December
3rd with an opening reception and a book signing Saturday November
5th starting at 7pm.
work is graphic and immediately raw. It is cynical and dangerous
and says so much in such condensed landscape. Sothern immersed
headfirst into this sliver of the population unlike most
people could never imagine, as a patron, and made photographs
with a level of exclusive access that is bold and a little
hard to comprehend. The stories behind each image presented
weaves in a tremendous amount of texture and background.
The tales oozed so much power to the imagery." --Kathy
M.Y. Pyon, LA Times
Sothern has taken his camera into a world that only a microscopic
fraction of the human population knows exists. Sothern is
not a mere voyeur, he wades deeply into zones most never
will and renders his subjects with dignity and compassion.
Lowlife is a moving and compelling piece of work."
"Scot Sothern's photographs of dark rooms, contorted
faces and abused but undefeated bodies reveal the hypocrisy
of a society that simultaneously fears and revels in cheap,
bought sex in which both sellers and the buyers are victims
of desperate but distinct needs. His pictures tell us something
about the people who appear in the them, and teach us difficult
truths about the animal condition in which all of us must
survive." --John Sevigny
is brutal stuff. A vicious slice of the American pie. A
camera lucida of la bas, as the French say. It doesn't get
much further down and straight to the being than this. A
cautionary series of tales that's seguro." --Barry
Scot Sothern first patronized the marketplace of curbside prostitution
on a prurient whim. He dove to the murky depths of sexual obsession,
and five years later resurfaced-- shell shocked and without excuse.
While there, trusty Nikon in hand, Sothern snapped what he saw:
full-frontal X-rated realities, fine-art documents, black and
white, pathos and pizzazz. A mix of yins and yangs, prurient and
sad, funny and gut-wrenching.
is an illustrated memoir of dysfunction, a confession of a befuddled
white guy maintaining a precarious connection to propriety and
fatherhood while side-tripping into noirish infatuations. Sothern's
images, shot mostly in Southern California between 1986 and 1990,
record the existence of these disenfranchised Americans, men and
women, hawking souls for the price of a Big Mac and a fix, struggling
in a culture that deems them criminal and expendable. As Sothern
opines, "Anyone could offer them 10 bucks to take a brick
in the face and they’d hold out their palm." These
timeless portraits, described as both harsh and intelligent, reveal
the never changing plight of the street prostitute. The photography
on display throughout Lowlife is at times explicit. The
images bring to mind the works of early twentieth-century photographer
Bellocq, as well as contemporary photographers Nan Golden
and Diane Arbus.
exhibition contains graphic nudity and explicit content.
second generation photographer, Scot Sothern was behind a camera
and in the darkroom from an early age. In the 1960s, rebellious
and angry, he learned to use photography as a weapon while hiding
behind the viewfinder. In
September, Lowlife, photos and literary vignettes, was
published in the UK by Stanley Barker. Lowlife, the memoir,
will be translated and published in France in 2012, by 13e
Note Editions in Paris.
to Interviews, articles and more photos:
Why I Love Scot Sothern's Lowlife