The Valley
The Valley
Inkjet on watercolour paper
90 x 60 centimeters

I am a big fan of late twentieth century American photography, photographers such as Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore are names synonymous with the documentation of quintessentially American lifestyles and landscapes. In 2004 a less well known photographer working in a similar idiom, Larry Sultan, published a fascinating photographic essay about the porn industry in California's San Fernando Valley simply called The Valley. It documents the industry's workers in suburban homes rented temporarily as sets for staging porn shoots and the viewer quickly realises that these people treat the work like any other job. We see actors pausing for a cigarette break and technicians taking a quick nap between takes, all taking place in humdrum suburban settings.

Prior to this reimagining I had worked with material derived mainly from the classical visual arts and the documentary style of this photographic genre proved difficult to interpret. I gave up attempting to capture the spirit of this Larry Sultan photo and satisfied myself with this odd result whose meaning has become largely decoupled from the original. Ultimately it's an image of guy snoozing on the couch while another guy studies a couple having sex in a courtyard and it poses a lot of questions without even addressing the need to provide answers.

Larry Sultan's Vivid Chronicles of California : Wallpaper Magazine