March 7th, 2013
An American photographer best known for her large black and white prints – at first of her young children, then later of landscapes. “ ‘My mother has no blinders on,’ Jesse Mann says. ‘She will always look intensely upon whatever is closest to her’ “. Sally Mann’s work has always been largely inspired by people closest her, first her children and now her husband Larry Mann.
Sally’s biggest influences are 19th century photographers like, Julia Margaret Cameron and Eugene Atget. She even uses a photographic technique used in the 1850’s and favored by Matthew Brady. It requires a very large awkward camera, a glass plate coated in sticky silver nitrate solution and five minute exposures. “Seen with historical perspective, it is clear that Cameron possessed an extraordinary ability to imbue her photographs with a powerful spiritual content, the quality that separates them from the products of commercial portrait studios of her time”. Julia Cameron was exploring concepts before it was popular in her time. Whereas Sally Mann takes her inspiration from techniques used in the 19th century, however, still incorporating modern content, she has many similarities to Julia’s style.
“The equipment and developing process for her photography originates in 1850, in the photographic process that replaced the daguerreotype. The method she uses is the Ambrotype process. The Ambrotype was advertised as a faster and cheaper alternative. Ambrotypes were also enclosed in a decorative case but the image was formed on glass, which does not have the highly reflective quality of the daguerreotype. The tintype, or ferrotype, was derived from the ambrotype process but created its image on a thin sheet of iron coated with black or brown lacquer. It was quite inexpensive and did not require the protective case needed for ambrotypes and daguerreotypes. For these reasons the tintype remained popular for portraiture from the...