Born in Indiana, Larry French is a writer and photographic artist based in Los Angeles, California. He first studied photography during the early years of UCLA’s fine art photography program, primarily under Robert Heinecken but also briefly with Robert Fichter. He continued his photographic studies at Art Center College of Design under Max Yavno.
His essays and short stories have been widely published appearing in many publications and anthologies including the Harper Collins Guide to College Reading and the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.
His photographs have been exhibited at group exhibitions throughout the United States and also, internationally, in Moscow, Budapest, Simferopol, Rome,Berlin, and Tokyo.
He currently represents the Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation in America.
I was raised to be a hunter. When I was ten or eleven my father began taking me target shooting. By the time I was twelve I was hunting by my father’s side with my own rifle and shotgun. We hunted small game as far south as Kentucky and up through the length of Indiana and into upper Michigan. I was good at it. Not just the shooting, but moving quietly through the woods and fields, all senses alert, looking, hearing even smelling. I never felt more alive than when I was hunting and dreaded the end of each season. I loved it but I did not love the killing part. In the end it became too much and so I quit hunting when I turned eighteen. I missed everything about it though, everything except the killing.
After I moved to Los Angeles I began studying at a new fine art photography program at UCLA under Robert Heineken. The work we did was largely experimental with a lot of manipulation, often without the use of cameras. Most of the images were created in a darkroom or laboratory. It was interesting and in many ways, very enjoyable, but I knew early on it was not what I was interested in. UCLA was not teaching what I wanted but it was at UCLA in those classrooms that I discovered the direction I would take in my own work. Mr. Heineken and the other instructors would bring various photographic books to class and have us pass them around to broaden our knowledge of what other photographers were doing. It was there that I first saw Robert Franks “Americans”, Cartier-Bressons “Decisive Moments, Brassi’s night photographs of Paris and many others. It was in those books that I saw what could be done with black and white. Each photograph was like a short story to me, and I saw them not as not written down, but hunted down.
My hunting ground now is very different from the hills, woods and fields of the Midwest of my youth. I find myself moving slowly through the early morning light in a cemetery in Taos, a boulevard in Paris or a back alley in LA’s Chinatown. The animals I hunt today are made of wild light and long shadows. They are difficult to find and I often sense them long before I see them. They are always moving, fast and usually out of range but they leave tracks in the air for me to follow.