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Curb Service: A Memoir [Paperback]

Scot Sothern
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

16 July 2013
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (16 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593765207
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593765200
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Praise for Curb Service "Sothern daringly invites readers to sit bedside while he spends dingy afternoons in dusty motel rooms with streetwalkers, crack pipes, empty promises and his trusty camera, recording flashes of desperate women addled by drug abuse and hopelessness... A relentlessly gritty, cheerless portrait of a talented niche artisan." --Kirkus "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 Praise for Lowlife "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 "Lowlife is brutal stuff. A vicious slice of the American pie. A camera lucida of la bas, as the French say. It doesn't get much further down and straight to the being than this. A cautionary series of tales that's seguro." --Barry Gifford

About the Author

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 novelties--photo 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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable 16 Mar 2014
By F. R.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really good read. Very unusual and interesting subject matter, written in a very easy to read style. I would happily reccomend this book to others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging, Easy Read 30 Sep 2013
By G. Andersen - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had caught a couple of Scot Sothern's stories about photographing and interviewing prostitutes on The fast pace glimpses into this segment of society had me wanting more of his stories. Both funny and at the same time sad, these vignettes, along with some of Sothern's back story were written without judgment or glamorizing these women and what they did to survive. Telling it like it is, I think any fan of literature that explores any aspect of our societies underground, will find this enjoyable as well as informative. A realistic look at how some women (and men) survive in this world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graphic, gorgeous, great read. 10 Sep 2013
By Dorianne L. Laux - Published on
This isn't a book for kids, but for those of us who have always known there was another world right beside us, squirming in the dark. Hypnotic photos.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating 11 Sep 2013
By Tom G - Published on
Sothern's book is excellent, I read it in two days. Great balance of rawness and intimacy, rage and humor. He's as good a writer as a photographer and that's saying something. Fully recommended
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curb Service 10 Sep 2013
By Daniel Funaki - Published on
Scot takes us the reader into the dark alleys and motel rooms few dare to enter. You visualize whats happening as you read it and then either you laugh, think, get angry or are left wondering how Scot made it out alive!! An amazing book from an extraordinary artist whose recognition is long overdue. Go get the book
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 1 April 2014
By Robert Yates - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, I've enjoyed the prose and he's got such talent! I appreciate his honestly and the things he went through to get to where he is today.
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