Larry Sultan
[Photographer, b. 1946, Brooklyn, New York, d. 2009, Greenbrae, California.]

 Like a ventriloquist who laughs at his dummy’s jokes, I keep trying to make photographs that seduce me into believing in the image—all the time knowing better, but believing anyway. 
 I always thought of a great photograph as if some creature walked into my room; it’s like, how did you get here? What are you made of? And no matter how many pictures I make, I have never depleted that quality of mystery. 
 Ambiguity is really important to me. Part of the difficulty facing photographers is that almost any subject matter has accumulated a representational history, so to find a new discursive space, a space to wander around those subject matters, is a real challenge. 
 What’s important to me is that [photographs] have the appearance of being documents of what goes on. I like the illusion of veracity, that they look like life rather than movie stills. I don’t want them to look fabricated. 
 I love making pictures, even if most of the results are lousy. 
 Literature especially has an interesting relationship to photography—to observation, to description, to fiction: taking something that you see and elaborating, jamming, and I think, staging.... taking that moment of observation and letting it go, giving it some wings, following it, rather than nailing it. You’re riffing off of reality. 
 I’m very interested in making the photographs look real, but a lot of them are highly synthetic. They’re hybrids, located somewhere between the found and the constructed. 
 I think what moved me to be a photographer was that one could make images very different than other art forms—that were populist, that dealt with daily life, that dealt with our times… 
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