By Scot Sothern
(Soft Skull Press, Paperback, 9781593765200, 288pp.)
Publication Date: July 2013
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Cruising nighttime byways for an adrenaline fix, Scot Sothern first patronized the marketplace of curbside prostitution surfing the prurient whims of a young man. He dove to the murky depths of sexual obsession and resurfaced five years later, shell-shocked and without excuse. While there, trusty Nikon in hand, Scot, a second-generation photographer, made full-frontal X-rated exposures, black and white, filled with pathos and an uncanny realism. The pictures captured the plight of the disenfranchised in America, those forgotten and drug-addicted. Now he is ready to tell the story behind the photographs, the confessions of a befuddled baby-boomer maintaining a slippery connection to propriety while side-tripping into noirish infatuations with those low in life.
Curb Service recounts Sothern’s past as a troubled kid in the 1960s who visited two-dollar whorehouses and as an adult in the 1980s is still at it. A photographer who either can’t get a break or blows it when one comes his way, Scot wants to hold onto jobs, wives, and relationships; he tries to be a good father to the son he loves. Yet he continues picking up street prostitutes, photographing them, having sex with them, living moments of their lives and watching them fade away in a culture that deems them criminal and expendable.
It was only a few years ago that Scot’s photography started to receive notice by influential Drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles which led to the publication of Lowlife, a photo book, by Stanley Barker in the UK and soon by powerhouse in Brooklyn. His work has since been exhibited world-wide including shows in London, Los Angeles, and Ottawa.
Scot Sothern spent forty unsettled years hustling freelance photography. Scot worked in department stores, churches, bowling alleys, sports events, and high school proms. He worked in a cave at a tourist-trap in Missouri, making and selling photo mementos. Traveling with a portable studio, he made and sold children's portraits and noveltiesphoto buttons and key-chain viewers. Scot shot model's portfolios, head-shots, and nude magazine layouts. He spent three years in Tallahassee, Florida, with a photography studio, three seasons with a high school yearbook studio in Los Angeles, and has been employed in three different cities as a darkroom technician. Forced into commercial retirement by the crippling byproduct of a motorcycle mishap, Scot now writes books and has continued making photographs.
Praise for Curb Service
"Scot Sothern is the real thing. This is damn good writing.” Dan Fante
Armed with a camera and a gift for words, Scot Sothern crept into the darker corners of life and subjected himself to what J.M. Barrie called 'a long lesson in humility.' The result is a masterful memoir, full of truth-telling, ugliness, beauty, tragedy, and humor. Curb Service is brave, funny, and heartwarming in ways you can't see coming.” Bill Fitzhugh, author of Pest Control