Larry Sultan

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Larry Sultan
Born July 13, 1946
Brooklyn, New York City
Died December 13, 2009
Greenbrae, Marin County, California
Cause of death Cancer
Education University of California, Santa Barbara
San Francisco Art Institute
Occupation Photographer, professor
Spouse(s) Katherine Sultan

Larry Sultan (1946-2009) was an American photographer from the San Fernando Valley in California. He taught at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1978 to 1988 and at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco 1989 to 2009. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, his work is exhibited in museums in the United States.

Life and work[edit]

Larry Sultan was born on July 13, 1946 in New York City.[1][2][3] He grew up in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, California, where his parents moved when he was an infant.[1][2] He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara with a bachelor's degree in Political Science, and received a Master's in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco.[1][3][4]

He started his career in the 1970s as a conceptual photographer.[2] In 1977, he published a collection of photographs he found in corporate and government archives called "Evidence" with fellow photographer Mike Mandel.[1][2] The New York Times characterized them as "a watershed in the history of art photography."[1] The two men also created billboards aimed at slowing down road traffic.[1][2] He then published Pictures From Home, a collection of photographs taken of his parents in the San Fernando Valley from 1982 to 1992, whose role was to question societal expectations of gender and aging.[2] His 2004 assignment for Maxim, which consisted of photographs of middle-class residences rented by the porn industry in the San Fernandino Valley, led to another photographic series called The Valley.[1][2] He photographed Paris Hilton for Interview in his parents's bedroom in his childhood home.[2]

He was an Instructor of Photography at his alma mater, the San Francisco Art Institute, from 1978 to 1988.[3] He then taught at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco as Chair of the Photography Department from 1993 to 1999, and as Distinguished Professor of Art from 1989 to 2009.[1][3][4]

He served on the Board of Trustees of the Headlands Center for the Arts from 1992 to 1998.[3] He was married to Katherine Sultan, also known as Kelly Sultan.[1] He died of cancer on December 13, 2009 in Greenbrae, California.[1]


  • How to Read Music in One Evening. self-published, 1974. Collaboration with Mike Mandel.
  • Evidence. self-published, 1977. Collaboration with Mike Mandel.
  • Headlands: The Marin Coast at the Golden Gate. University of New Mexico Press, 1989. Collaboration with Miles DeCoster, Mark Klett, Mike Mandel and Paul Metcalf.
  • Pictures From Home. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1992. ISBN 0-8109-3721-2.
  • Evidence. Distributed Art, 2003. ISBN 1-891024-62-0. With Mike Mandel. Reprint.
  • The Valley. Scalo, 2004. ISBN 3-908247-79-9.
  • Katherine Avenue. Steidl, 2010.
  • Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König / D.A.P., 2012.
  • Larry Sultan: Here and Home. Prestel USA, 2014.




Sultan's work is held in the following public collections:


External links[edit]