Originally published in the U.K. as a limited edition artist's book in 2011, and now out of print, An American Lowlife has been resurrected and is now presented as an eBook for all who missed the original.
Using his camera like a knuckled fist, Scot Sothern spent five years photographing street prostitutes and the bleak netherworld they, and he, inhabited. He was not in the trenches as a journalist or crusader but as a John with base instincts and an artistic eye. Gritty, black-and-white Tri-X images, along with Sothern's short, confessional writing tell the story of An American Lowlife. Shot mostly in Southern California between 1986 and 1990, this work records the existence of the many disenfranchised Americans, men and women, hawking body and soul for the price of a Big Mac and a fix. With these full-frontal portraits, and full disclosure texts, An American Lowlife documents the struggle and paralyzing plight of street-level sex workers-victims of a culture that deems them criminal and expendable.
Writer-photographer Scot Sothern spent 40 years hustling work and drifting from job to job. His first exhibit, “LOWLIFE,” was held at the notorious Drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles in 2010. His first book, LOWLIFE, was published in the U.K. by Stanley Barker in 2011. Sothern has since had solo shows on both coasts of the U.S. as well as in Ottawa and London. The British Journal of Photography called LOWLIFE, “The year’s most controversial photobook.” At VICE magazine since 2013, writing the columns “Nocturnal Submissions” and “Sothern Exposure,” Sothern has published more than 50 photoillustrated stories. In 2013, Curb Service: A Memoir was published by Soft Skull Press, and An American Lowlife, a digital photobook, was published by powerHouse Books. Sothern maintains a blog, www.scotsothern.com.