American artist Larry Sultan created staged ‘documentary’ photographs and is perhaps best known for his 2004 series ‘The Valley’, that features LA homes used as sets for pornographic films. These unglamorous scenes featuring disrobed actors taking a break over a cuppa and bored beauties staring into the middle distance disrupt any fantasy associated with the final product.
Sultan’s most powerful work involved his own family, who he collaboated with for over a decade. Toying with the constructs of Reagan-era family life, Sultan directed his mother and father in various staged scenarios. Sultan stated: “Photography is there to construct the idea of us as a great family and we go on vacations and take these pictures and then we look at them later and we say, ‘Isn’t this a great family?’ So photography is instrumental in creating family not only as a memento, a souvenir, but also a kind of mythology.”
The artist is survived by his wife and two sons.