Intimate images of Larry Sultan's Los Angeles

Larry Sultan and his photos of L.A. are the focus of a retrospective at LACMA

Although he was known around the world, Larry Sultan was quintessentially a Los Angeles photographer. Or rather, a photographer of Los Angeles.

In stark, simply composed shots, Sultan (1946-2009) captured the essence of his native San Fernando Valley like few others. The first retrospective of the artist's 35-year career — "Larry Sultan: Here and Home," running through July 19 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — contains more than 200 photographs, a billboard, a film and a "Study Hall" room that gives visitors a window into Sultan's artistic process.

The show consists of six major bodies of work, including "Pictures of Home" (1983-92), which examines his relationship with his home and his parents, and "The Valley" (1997-2003), which trains its lens on the conflicted, bizarre and beautiful landscape and faces of that place. The former has been particularly attractive to Angelenos and out-of-town visitors alike, curator Rebecca Morse said.

"While these are intimate images of Sultan's parents," she said, "they resonate with viewers on a broad scale who are considering their own parents, upbringing and home life."

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