Sunday 8 December 2019
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theguardian - 21 days ago

Photographer Pat Martin: ‘Mom was not an easy subject’

The American winner of the 2019 Taylor Wessing portrait prize tells the story behind his extraordinary portraits of his troubled motherIn 2015, while standing in front of a series of portraits by the American photographer Larry Sultan in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pat Martin suddenly found himself in tears. “For weeks my friends had been telling me, ‘You have to see the Sultan retrospective, you’ll love it,’” he recalls. “And I did, but it triggered me. It was the first time I cried from seeing photographs that weren’t personal to me.”The portraits in question were of Sultan’s elderly parents, whom he had photographed throughout the 1980s when they were living in a retirement community in Palm Springs. He called the series Pictures from Home and, in a related text, described their deeper motivation: “I realise that beyond the rolls of film and the few good pictures, the demands of my project and my confusion about its meaning, is the wish to take photography literally. To stop time. I want my parents to live for ever.” Continue reading...

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