Larry Sultan: the Valley.
Photographs by Larry Sultan.
Scalo, Zurich, 2004. 176 pp., 90 Color Illustrations, 14½x11".
Although thought to be out-of-print, copies of this Scalo book have surfaced and will be released soon at a reduced price, pre-order now.
Famous for his use of found imagery and his photos of suburbia, Sultan explores middle class homes rented as pornographic sets in the San Fernando Valley where he grew up. He capitalizes on the stage lighting already in place, but photographs around the fringes of the film production. Girls lounge on the patio between scenes as if they were in their own home, and actors have sex on the kitchen counter with the espresso machine and oven mitts on the edges of the set. The photographs impart seemingly imagined scenarios that blur the boundaries between the facts of documentary work and the staged fiction at play in pornography. The suburban homes, on one hand mundane as ever with family snapshots and sectional couches, become loaded cultural symbols as a background where adult fantasies are played out. Sultan interrogates why suburbia serves as the setting for pornography and whether porn's obvious artifice is so much different than the social fantasies of home and security. In this over-sized monograph, Sultan negotiates the ambiguous territory of desire and sex, home and family, reality and illusion, offering a fascinating view of middle class identity and the powerful fantasies underlying it.
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