LOWLIFE - Pix & Stories

"This work is graphic and immediately raw. It is cynical and dangerous and says so much in such condensed landscape.” --Los Angeles Times
 "Lowlife is brutal stuff. A vicious slice of the American pie.  It doesn't get much further down and straight to the being than this." --Barry Gifford

 "Scot Sothern has taken his camera into a world that only a microscopic fraction of the human population knows exists. Sothern is not a mere voyeur, he wades deeply into zones most never will and renders his subjects with dignity and compassion. Lowlife is a moving and compelling piece of work." --Henry Rollins

There is no moon, no stars, no ceiling, just black from the ground up. Pepper takes my hand and leads me down a path I can't see and up a bushy hill underneath the Hollywood Freeway. A few yards away, burning tobacco, floating red fireflies, low moans and evil spells. People who I can't see, vampires and werewolves. Somebody barks like a dog, he says, Bark bark motherfucker.

Six yards above me cars are flying by, hissing like snakes at ninety miles an hour. I'm high on drugs, crack cocaine, which at this moment, I highly recommend.

Pepper knows the inhabitants of this impromptu cemetery. She knows the route around the gravestones and dead-ends. Somebody flips their Bic and I see the painted backdrop of my dreams. I tell Pepper, Go thataway. Pepper consults me regarding wardrobe and we decide she should open her shirt, expose her breasts, and pull her pants down. When I hit the shutter the flash is brilliant and beautiful and Pepper is a vision of innocence and purity.

I take pictures of Starlight in the back seat but I'm concerned she is going to nod off to Foggy Town. I don't really want a passed-out whore in the car, so I wrap up the photo session and drive her back to where I found her. Before she gets out I dip into my backpack and take out a threesome of condoms.

"Here, you go," I say. "Take these with you. Protect yourself."

She looks at me like I'm way out of focus. She takes the chain of rubbers, climbs out of the car and as she staggers off into the shadows she flings them to the curb like a spent cigarette.
 These images shot mostly in Southern California between 1986 and 1990, record the existence of the many disenfranchised Americans, hawking body and soul for the price of a Big Mac and a fix. With these portraits, paragraphs, and full disclosure, I hope to show the struggle and never changing plight of the street prostitutes, victims of a culture that deems them criminal and expendable.

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