From his early collaborative work featuring images retrieved from governmental and corporate archives, the American photographer Larry Sultan (1946-2009) sought to challenge the conventions of photography.

A professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco for 20 years, Sultan lived and worked in California until his death in 2009. His breakthrough series of photographs “Pictures from Home” (1982-92) is an intimate portrait taken over 10 years of his parents’ lives in California after his father, Irving (above, with lilo), had to take early retirement from his job at a razor manufacturer.

“These are my parents,” explained Sultan. “From that simple fact everything follows. I realise that beyond the rolls of film and the few good pictures, the demands of my project and my confusion about its meaning, is the wish to take photography literally. To stop time. I want my parents to live forever.” Both Sultan’s parents died not long after the book was published.

In the 1990s, Sultan moved on to another project set in domestic spaces, this time in the San Fernando Valley, in suburban houses being rented out for pornographic video shoots (“The Valley”, 1998-2003).

The first major retrospective of his work, with more than 200 images on show, opened on November 9 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

‘Larry Sultan: Here and Home’ runs until March 22 2015, lacma.org

Slideshow photographs: Courtesy the Estate of Larry Sultan

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