/ Scot Sothern / Photo story


As a second generation photographer I began working in my father’s photography studio in the 1960s. Forgoing a formal education I left home at an early age and spent many years as a knockabout photographer taking free-lance gigs wherever I could get them. In 1986 I began a project, Lowlife, photographing street prostitutes in Los Angeles. This series was not taken from a step back as a photojournalist but rather I threw myself into the world of drugs and prostitution as both a documentarian and a john. In the early 1990s I finished the project and because of a physical condition, the result of a motorcycle accident, I put photography aside for a few years. I began writing in the 1990s, putting words to the photographs and telling the tales of my somewhat unconventional life.

After more than twenty years of rejections from galleries and publishers, John Matkowsky at the prestigious drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles gave me a one-man show in 2011. With that came a book, Lowlife, published in the UK by Stanley Barker Books, and more gallery shows in the US as well as the UK, Switzerland, and Canada. My memoir, Curb Service, is being published in July of 2013 by Soft Skull Press. I’m currently working on a number of photography projects including A New Low, which has put me back on the streets photographing prostitutes again. I also have a twice-monthly column that I do for Vice.com.