“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. And in the odd and jumbled process of working, everything shifts: the boundaries blur, my distance slips, the arrogance and illusion of immunity falters. I wake up in the middle of the night, stunned and anguished. These are my parents. From that simple fact, everything follows.” – Larry Sultan
First published in 1992 to wide critical acclaim, Pictures From Home is Larry Sultan’s pendant to his parents. Sultan returned home to Southern California periodically in the 1980s and the decade-long sequence moves between registers, combining contemporary photographs with film stills from home movies, fragments of conversation, Sultan’s own writings and other memorabilia. The result is a narrative collage in which the boundary between the documentary and the staged becomes increasingly ambiguous. Simultaneously the distance usually maintained between the photographer and his subjects also slips in an exchange of dialogue and emotion that is unique to this work.
Significantly increasing the page count of the original book, this MACK design of Pictures From Home clarifies the multiplicity of voices – both textual and pictorial – in order to afford a fresh perspective of this seminal body of work. Emphasising the cinematic motion of the family’s home videos, the Super-8 film stills have been newly digitised and magnified, with select scenes running full-bleed across double-page spreads. Meanwhile, Sultan’s photographs of his parents as they go about their daily lives – against the quintessential backdrop of the Reagan-era American dream – are supplemented with previously unpublished images. Most significantly, the book honours Sultan as the oft-hailed ‘King of Colour Photography’.
Larry Sultan (b. 1946, Brooklyn; d. 2009, California) grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley, which became a source of inspiration for a number of his projects. His work blends documentary and staged photography to create images of the psychological as well as physical landscape of suburban family life. Sultan’s work has been exhibited and published widely. Most recently, the Los Angeles County Museum presented a retrospective exhibition dedicated to Sultan. His photography is included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Sultan served as a Distinguished Professor of Photography at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.