By Randy Kennedy, The New York Times
Larry Sultan, a highly influential California photographer whose 1977 collaboration, Evidence—a book made up solely of pictures culled from vast industrial and government archives—became a watershed in the history of art photography, died on Sunday at his home in Greenbrae, Calif. He was 63.
The cause was cancer, said his wife, Katherine, who is known as Kelly.
In the mid 1970s, using a grant and a letter of introduction from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. Sultan and Mike Mandel, who had met as students at the San Francisco Art Institute, somehow managed to persuade several large companies, agencies and research institutions like the Bechtel Corporation, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the San Jose Police Department and the United States Department of the Interior to let them rummage through their documentary photo files....
READ ON at nytimes.com
(Thanks to Mitch Cohen)
Featured Comment by Rodger Kingston: "I am sorry to hear that Larry Sultan has died. His amazing book, Evidence, was great validation of my then-newborn decision to build a vernacular photographic collection. I suspect that it had a seminal effect on many others as well, and contributed significantly to the acceptance of vernacular images into the mainstream today."
Featured Comment by Adam Richardson: "I lucked out as the one and only photography class I took was while at California College of Arts and Crafts, right after Larry arrived. I learned things in that class with him that I still use every time I shoot. Probably the best thing he had us do was shoot most of the semester with only a 50mm lens. It taught us how to see photographically, and to this day I mostly shoot with primes rather than zooms, simply because of the ability that I learned in that class to pre-frame, and move me rather than the lens elements to get the framing I want. He also brought in some large scale color prints from his project about his parents, comparing ones that he'd done, and ones that he'd hired a professional printer to do after he was dissatisfied with his own printing, but couldn't figure out how to fix it. Very instructive as to the craft. Sad to hear about his passing."
Featured Comment by Richard Alan Fox: "I am so sorry to hear of Larry's death, at any age it is too young.
"In conversation on Saturday in New York City, I told a story of my first photography teacher at the University Extension in San Francisco. How he gave me my first photo show, also at that facility, and that it was the first college level class that he taught as well.
"I remember him as so young and fresh, and to catch a glimpse of the young man in maturity riding the rails as I opened the New York Times on my commuter bus brought tears to my eyes.
"Thirty five years gone so quickly. Thank you Larry for giving me a start."
Featured Comment by David Seelig: "Larry was my teacher at Lone Mt. College for a year. He had great energy and pushed us to see. Though I only saw him a few times since the '70s, he was a good influence on me. I was a difficult kid and he gave me his all and was a very good teacher. My condolences to his family for their huge loss."