First of all, Merry belated Christmas, y'all---
I am a little embarrassed that it has taken me so long to express my sorrow for the loss of Larry Sultan. I'll try to redeem myself a little here,
He passed away from pancreatic cancer on December 14th. He was a tenure track professor at California College of the Arts where I went to school, and was an icon not only within the contemporary photography community, but the art world as a whole. He was, to me, truly one of the last among the great dirt-under-the-nails photographers that has practiced throughout the extremely diverse and quickly evolving span of the art itself.
In the projects class I took with him in my final year of school he was really inspiring to be around. He was totally the kind of guy that could deliver crushing criticism and smile at you like he was your awesome grandma... the effect being that the blow to the ego was softened... but certainly not deafened. He was sharp as hell, an effective communicator and very nurturing without letting you get away with any bullshit.
In the throws of the digital age it's difficult for me not to feel nostalgic pangs when I consider the way a great craft was once done before technology arrived and de-mystified (my cynical side might like to say cheapened) the process. I think Larry comprehend it through and through.
And even if he didn't, who cares? His great contributions have and do reverberate throughout our art world, and the rest of us are left in the dust and the pixels in this awe.
Rest in peace Larry. Thank you-
"...so go get to work, damnit"
(above photo is by his wife Kelly Sultan, I believe. His obituary in the Times can be read here)