Sally Mann

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You are required to discuss a work by a 20th or 21st century artist, photographer, designer, architect, film-maker, philosopher or writer and show how this work reflects, contradicts or extends theories of and attitudes to visual culture current at the time of its making.

I have chosen Sally Mann as my artist as she is an extraordinary photographer that went against the grain to create something completely different. She has a strange way of making outstanding, personal imagery. She inspires my own work because of her ability to see things others would not. Sally Mann photographs the things that she is closest to. “The things that are close to you are the things you can photograph the best, unless you photograph what you love, you’re not going to make good art”. What Remains: The life and work of Sally Mann, Part 1? [Uploaded by Aivdd on Jan 21. 2011]. youtube.com/watch?v=XNEd93H4pPY. Most of her work revolves around her husband, her children, her childhood upbringing and the landscape that is her home. Mann uses an 8x10 bellows camera, and in the mid-1990s she began using the wet plate collodion process to produce photographs. Some of her photographs contain blemishes, stains and imperfections but she accepts these and believes they are what make the photo. “If it doesn’t have ambiguity, don’t bother to take it. I mean I love that, that aspect of photography, it got to have some peculiarity in it or it’s not interesting to me”. SEGMENT: Sally Mann in “Place”. [Release date: 7/14/2011]. pbs.org/art21/artists/sally-mann/videos Mann was passionate about horses and in 2006, her horse had an aneurysm while she was riding him, Mann was thrown to the ground and the impact broke her back. She made a series of ambrotype self-portraits during the two years it took for her to recover. These self-portraits were displayed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as a part of Sally Mann: the Flesh and the Spirit for the first time in November 2010. In the 1970’s Mann explored many different genres such as landscapes and architecture. She merged still life with portraiture. Mann has produced two series of landscapes: Deep South and Mother Land. In her series What Remains it shows pictures of the decomposing body of her greyhound, to the site where an armed fugitive committed suicide on her property in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. She has experimented with color photography, but seems too remained most interested in black and white.

Deep South, 1998 Deep South, 2001

Sally Mann came to the world’s attention with ‘Immediate Family,’ a series of photographs with her children all under the age of ten at the time. These photos show every day activities such as playing, sleeping and eating but it also touches on larger themes such as death and social opinions of sexuality. One day her daughter Jessie came home with a knat bite on her face and it was swollen and bruised. Sally said she was so striking so she put her in front of a wall and documented it (Damaged Child). It was then that Sally Mann realized beautiful photographs were right under her nose and she began photographing her children.

These photographs of her children were published as a book and became an international best seller. The book contains around sixty images of her children. Sales of her prints skyrocketed and Time Magazine named Mann “Americas Best Photographer”.

Thinking about the attitudes people had towards visual culture at the time when Immediate Family was produced, the effect it had on the public was very controversial. To her, they were little more than tender, maternal photographs of her children but there was outrage within the religious community against child pornography and she was called an irrespirable mother. The controversy had the inarguably beneficial fact of bringing the work to the public’s attention. A lot more people saw the work as a consequence. The reaction of the religious...
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