Larry Sultan
[Photographer, b. 1946, Brooklyn, New York, d. 2009, Greenbrae, California.]

 I’m very interested in making the photographs look real, but a lot of them are highly synthetic. They’re hybrids, located somewhere between the found and the constructed. 
 ...I think finding that room to make pictures that don’t jump off the wall as, or detonate as dramatic, either in lighting or in form or in composition or in subject matter, but more ordinary, that’s the challenge. 
 Literature especially has an interesting relationship to photography—to observation, to description, to fiction: taking something that you see and elaborating, jamming, and I think, staging.... taking that moment of observation and letting it go, giving it some wings, following it, rather than nailing it. You’re riffing off of reality. 
 “Pornography” is such a loaded word. I think it’s gotten really clear recently because we’ve seen some really serious pornography with the Iraqi prisoners, along with the graphic descriptions of what happened. It’s really a time of oppression and also a time of such perversion. My work is so mild, and so much about tenderness and empathy—there’s nothing pornographic about it. 
 I’ve actually thought about stopping photographing for a while and just writing, maybe that would get closer to the bone. 
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