‘Lowlife’ by Scot Sothern makes its UK debut at The Great Eastern Bear

“Scot Sothern has taken his camera into a world that only a microscopic fraction of the human population knows exists. Sothern is not a mere voyeur, he wades deeply into zones most never will and renders his subjects with dignity and compassion. Lowlife is a moving and compelling piece of work.”
-Henry Rollins

“Scot Sothern Makes this year’s most controversial photobook”  -The British Journal of Photography


California, 1986

When I pulled off the freeway into San Diego, I had a single twenty dollar bill in my wallet. My car, a 1973 Toyoto station wagon, rattled my teeth and died in idle. At stops I had to divide my right foot: heel on the brake, toes revving the accelerator. I had barely enough gas to get back to Los Angeles.

On El Cajon Boulevard I drove slowly and studied the street walkers. In their eyes I could see desperation-induced madness, premature death. In my eyes they could see my craving for the nasty little secret I kept from friends and family. I could give my twenty dollars to any one of these women. I could buy a quick sex fix and she could buy enough crack to put a smile on her face for an hour or so.

In the passenger seat, belted and buckled, frail and beautiful, my four-year-old son, Dashiell, slept curled around his best friend, a pillow-sized stuffed facsimile of Hulk Hogan. It was Sunday night and my weekend with my little boy was over.

When we arrived at his mother’s house, Dash awoke. He cried and clung tightly, arms around my neck. He didn’t want me to go. His mother Sylvia, my ex-wife, was happy to see me go, but first she wanted money. I made lame excuses. She called me a jerk and pried our son from my embrace. I took my twenty dollars and drove back to El Cajon Boulevard.

(Taken from ‘Lowlife’ by Scot Sothern)

LOWLIFE is Sothern’s illustrated diary of dysfunction; the confessions of a befuddled baby-boomer maintaining a precarious connection to propriety and fatherhood while side-tripping into dark infatuations.

These stories and images, shot mostly in Southern California between 1986 and 1990 record the existence of the many disenfranchised Americans – men and women – hawking body and soul for the price of a Big Mac and a fix, struggling in a culture that deems them criminal and expendable.

Sothern is an American-born photographer, spending the majority of his career in commercial photography and film. The ‘Lowlife’ exhibited series, which comprises of images and text from the diary has brought critical acclaim for Sothern for the courageous honesty in his text and the uncompromising direction of his work.

Rich Hendry, owner of the Great Eastern Bear gallery says ‘,This will be Sothern’s first UK exhibition, and with the Great Eastern Bear gallery’s former seedy history as a an East End brothel; we felt it was appropriate to display his powerful and controversial work here.’

More information on Sothern at www.scotsothern.com.

Publishers Stanley Barker will be launching a Special Edition of the publication ‘Lowlife’ at the Private View. Limited to just ten, each copy of ‘Lowlife’ is signed and numbered by the Scot Sothern and comes with a print produced by John Matkowsky of DRKRM (L.A.) under the supervision of the artist. The exclusive print is 180x220mm, silver fibre-based, on a semi-gloss stock.

The second edition print of ‘Lowlife’ will also be available to purchase from the Great Eastern Bear gallery and the images which form the exhibition are also for sale – POA.

For more information about the publication, quotes from the artist or to reproduce any part of ‘Lowlife’ please contact info@stanleybarker.com or visit www.stanleybarker.com.

All the exhibition images are available as limited edition prints; please contact the gallery on info@greateasternbear.com for more information.

 ‘Lowlife’ opens with a Private View and Special Edition Book launch on 13th September (6.30-10pm) and the exhibition is open to the public for 2 weeks afterwards. Please RSVP for the Private View

For media enquiries please contact Firgas@raw-material.co.uk

The Great Eastern Bear, 8A Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3NT http://www.greateasternbear.com


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