Scot Sothern is an American photographer who made portraits of drug-addled prostitutes throughout California during the 1980’s and 90’s. The resulting body of work, LOWLIFE, was picked up and exhibited by drkrm Gallery (Los Angeles), and had a monograph recently published by Stanley Barker (London) to great acclaim. He is currently making LOWLIFE 2: A New Low.
LOWLIFE (including work from the upcoming A New Low) will be exhibited at The Great Eastern Bear gallery in London, September 13th – October 7th, 2012.
LOWLIFE is an illustrated diary of dysfunction; the confessions of a befuddled baby-boomer maintaining a precarious connection to propriety and fatherhood while side-tripping into noirish infatuations. These stories and images, shot mostly in Southern California between 1986 and 1990 record the existence of the many disenfranchised Americans, men and women, hawking body and soul for the price of a Big Mac and a fix, struggling in a culture that deems them criminal and expendable.
“I’d have to say I just never thought it was all that scary. Well no, that’s not really true, I guess it was scary but it was also kind of fun, I didn’t worry about it. It’s not like I was a photojournalist in the middle of a war, zigzagging through land mines, you know. That’s the really scary shit. I did get mugged once, well actually I got mugged three times, but only one of those times was while I was making Lowlife…”
“Yeah, completely, I rebelled against everything. I even rebelled against photography and ended up being a photographer because it was the only thing I knew how to do when it came time to actually work for a living…For the most part I guess I’m still rebelling. I’m a child of the fifties and sixties; I’m bound to nonconformity…”
Want to read the full interview? Then download the latest issue of SMBHmag here