Larry Yust calls his composite images photographic elevations, a term that he says, “I invented, as far as I know.” Photographic elevations reference architectural elevations, which show how walls would appear if you could look anywhere at a building straight on. Elevations are drawn without perspective. Yust describes his photographic elevations as views which are not possible in nature because of distortion. He doesn’t like them to be mistaken for panoramas; panoramas are made from a single viewpoint, while photographic elevations are made from many viewpoints.
Yust, a writer and director of motion pictures as well as a photographer, grew up in a literary household. His mother, Ruth, had been the principal librarian in Memphis before her marriage, and afterwards she wrote articles for women’s magazines. His father, Walter, was a newspaperman in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. In Chicago, he had been roommates with Carl Sandburg. In New Orleans in the 1920s, he was the editor of The Double Dealer, an influential literary magazine. The Double Dealer published the first work of William Faulkner, and Walter appears as a character in Faulkner’s 1927 novel Mosquitoes. He later became editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Yust describes his parents as very personable with many friends in the arts. His father knew Edward Steichen and Man Ray personally, although Yust never met them. He describes his house as being “like a very substantial public library. As a book reviewer, my father received a copy of almost every book published, and he kept them all. I was literally surrounded by books, including many art books. I grew up leafing through a book of Steichen photographs. The number of books in the house approached 10,000.”
More of this article can be read in the Summer 2011 issue.