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LOOK @ ME | Scot Sothern

LOOK @ ME | Scot Sothern

LOOK @ ME | Scot Sothern

ARTIST'S RECEPTION: June 22, 7–9 PM

EXHIBITION: June 22 – July 13, 2024

In a poignant exploration of humanity, Scot Sothern’s latest project, LOOK @ ME, turns a provocative lens on homelessness, Hollywood tourism, and the unseen struggles of everyday Americans. Through the lens of alternative street photography, Sothern positions himself as a modern-day vagabond, echoing the profiles of those he encounters on his odyssey, coming face to face with humankind, capturing the unfiltered essence of life at its most candid.

An orange plastic bucket, flipped over for a makeshift seat, becomes both a prop and a metaphor for the raw realities of life on the streets. In this conceptual endeavor, Sothern shoots with plastic disposable (analog) film cameras, adding a layer of spontaneity and authenticity to each frame. Seventy four years old and physically handicapped, with his bucket seat and secondhand walker, ungroomed and clad in beat-up Levi’s and a hoody, Sothern yells at the passersby, “LOOK AT ME!” and photographs their reactions. The result is a riveting documentation of the human response to the unseen, where compassion and animosity collide. Scot’s images become a searing commentary on the societal gaze, urging viewers to confront and question the norms that shape our collective consciousness.

LOOK @ ME is a departure from the prevailing narrative of homelessness in America. While acknowledging the good intentions of many photographers documenting the unhoused, Sothern’s work challenges the overexposed, exploitative, and redundant portrayals. Rather than focusing on the lives of the homeless, he turns his attention to the public reactions towards those living on the streets.

A series of short stories completes his visceral performance that transcends the boundaries of conventional artistic expression. This work has been recently published by DRKRM Editions in a new book titled LOOK AT ME.

"Homelessness is omnipresent in America. While there are many talented photographers documenting the homeless with good intention, it has become overexposed, exploitative, and redundant. Street people, desperate and often addicted, don't want their hard-luck lives recorded. Rather than photograph the homeless, I set out to record the public reaction to the unhoused people living on the streets.

Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high. Violence, xenophobia, white supremacy, and gender bashing have all elbowed into the main. I am documenting attitudes and behavior in times of an undeclared American Civil War."   –Scot Sothern

Along with LOOK @ ME, These Days will show work from Sothern's assemblage series ALL AMERICAN GIRLS.

In addition to the main gallery, the project room will feature Scot Sothern's series SHOPPING FOR GOD, consisting of images of cult-like groups shot in the 1980s, alongside a selection from photographer/curator Stephen Zeigler’s series MONKS MYSTICS & LUNATICS, coinciding with a collaborative zine between Zeigler and Sothern, published by These Days and released for the exhibition.

 

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