Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Larry Sultan, 1946-2009

Larry Sultan in a pensive moment Larry Sultan in a pensive moment
© Kelly Sultan

Fine-art photographer Larry Sultan, who was known for his deconstructive images of day-to-day life, died in December 2009 at the age of 63.

Born in New York in 1946, Sultan began college as a political science student but ended up receiving a master’s degree in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1973.

Most notably, Sultan’s work included “Evidence,” a project he worked on with fellow art student Mike Mandel that decontextualized photographs from business, industry and government photo archives; “Pictures from Home,” a study of modern domesticity; and “Larry Sultan: The Valley,” an investigation of sexual fantasy.

One of Sultan’s last projects, “Homeland,” consisted of staged photographs of immigrants performing various tasks, such as carrying water, on the fringes of suburban California neighborhoods.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) currently has several of Sultan’s images on display through June as part of their 75th-anniversary exhibition. Last year, Sultan was chosen as only the second person to be named an artist trustee on the board of SFMOMA.