Saturday, February 14, 2015

Scot Sothern, Lowlife 1985-1991 @ Daniel Cooney Fine Art

I’ve known Scot Sothern’s pictures from seeing them online, of what I took to be naked prostitutes. They were always fascinating, and some seemed erotic in a very dirty, black and white, high-keyed, flash kind of way. My reactions ranged from Oh god, why would anyone have sex there or with that person, to Shit, this is sad, and I never, ever want to have sex again. Sothern's pictures are compelling. Their dead-center framing and harsh flash can give the impression that a very talented consumer of prostitutes, not a practicing artist, made them. This lends them a certain charm. With the immediacy in the way the images were made, you can't help feeling that for better or worse, you are under a bridge paying a weathered, naked woman for sex. Seeing that the pictures exhibited are small snapshot-style prints of maybe 4x6 in does maybe go a step too far in making the photos look like mementos from what I am guessing is a not terribly happy moment in two peoples’ lives.

Having read the press release, apparently Scot Sothern is a little bit of both a working photojournalist and a fan of getting fucked up and having sex with prostitutes. I guess this makes the work a little less enjoyable for me. I liked believing that the pictures were a well-crafted fiction as opposed to a skilled documentation of what is actually happening.

Through Feb. 28th


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