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Author Topic: Sally Mann  (Read 3946 times)

Rob C

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Sally Mann
« on: November 10, 2017, 03:05:02 PM »

I've admired her work for quite a while, though I have to admit that, as father of a daughter, I am torn betwixt and between emotions about what she, Sally, has shot.

On the one hand I think the photos are amazing and so perceptive - or should the word really be manipulative or even exploitative?

http://sallymann.com/

Rob


Peter McLennan

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2017, 08:15:18 PM »

On the one hand I think the photos are amazing and so perceptive - or should the word really be manipulative or even exploitative?

Nothing if not provocative. Superbly realized.
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Telecaster

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2017, 09:01:03 PM »

Ms. Mann walks a fine line, I think, in her work with her kids. But she does it with skill. Reading her autobio gives good insight into what she’s on about with those photos. She’s an excellent writer!

-Dave-
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Rob C

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2017, 04:34:30 AM »

Ms. Mann walks a fine line, I think, in her work with her kids. But she does it with skill. Reading her autobio gives good insight into what she’s on about with those photos. She’s an excellent writer!

-Dave-

Dave, is there a monograph that covers both her pictures and writing? I'd be interested in adding it to the little collection.

I had another attempt at my Annie L giant last night, but do wish I had seen it open before buying. It just disappointed me so: all about her famly, of which I care nothing, and her even less amazing life with her essayist friend. It was made at the time of the good bio "Life through a Lens" by her sister, which I saw on tv and had imagined the book, discussed in the film, would be similar in scope, covering the Stones tour etc, but it ended up being mainly happy snaps and of a few politicians with the token muso thrown in to silence the critics like myself. Obviously didn't work.

Rob

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2017, 08:46:17 AM »

Ms. Mann walks a fine line, I think, in her work with her kids. But she does it with skill. Reading her autobio gives good insight into what she’s on about with those photos. She’s an excellent writer!

-Dave-
I agree completely. So I would go with
amazing and so perceptive
-Eric
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Rob C

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2017, 09:13:12 AM »

I agree completely. So I would go with -Eric

Learned - relearned? - another old lesson today: took the Nikon along for lunch - at last,  and it turned out to be a local fiesta. I found another lovely face (fake, of course) on a stall, and shot her a couple of times. As I never chimp unless in cases of extremis - I trust Matrix to have done the right thing by us three. Shall see later on. Nice that the 1.8/50mm G focuses as close as it does, as I was on the FF body for a change.

I'm getting tempted by the 85mm G for use on the cut-frame Nikon, but have resisted so far. I believe it fails to focus particularly close, and as I try to eliminate much most of the time, that could matter. I like to frame in the viewfinder...

But not to hijack my own thread, Sally does have a great sense of moment. I wonder if she and H-CB could have got along?

Rob

RSL

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2017, 11:20:14 AM »

Hi Rob, I suspect the two of them would have gotten along famously. Both understood that looking is everything.

Here's a shot from a group of seven I did last week in my retirement community with the 85G. I used one shoot-through umbrella, a reflector camera right, and popped a second light off the ceiling behind me for fill. The lens was on my D800 at f/5.6, and the frame's not cropped at all. So you see that the lens will focus fairly closely. It's just about perfect for headshots like this one.

(I don't do this kind of thing for groups that can afford a local pro, but when they can't, I work inexpensively -- for free)

Rob C

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2017, 11:39:15 AM »

Hi Rob, I suspect the two of them would have gotten along famously. Both understood that looking is everything.

Here's a shot from a group of seven I did last week in my retirement community with the 85G. I used one shoot-through umbrella, a reflector camera right, and popped a second light off the ceiling behind me for fill. The lens was on my D800 at f/5.6, and the frame's not cropped at all. So you see that the lens will focus fairly closely. It's just about perfect for headshots like this one.

(I don't do this kind of thing for groups that can afford a local pro, but when they can't, I work inexpensively -- for free)

As that's uncropped, then cutting a third off should make it look like it would used on cut-frame format at that distance. Not too restricing at all, then; that's nice to know, thanks.

Rob

Telecaster

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2017, 01:21:30 PM »

Dave, is there a monograph that covers both her pictures and writing? I'd be interested in adding it to the little collection.

Mann’s autobiography doesn’t have many photos, and those it has are snaps rather than her work. But it’s such a good book!

-Dave-
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2017, 02:23:49 PM »

Mann’s autobiography doesn’t have many photos, and those it has are snaps rather than her work. But it’s such a good book!

-Dave-
I agree.

-Eric
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Rob C

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2017, 04:19:37 PM »

Spent the past few hours with Dr Google. There's no need to buy the book: Sally M has written so much about family, fears and regrets (?) - questions to herself about those images that I get the picture very clearly in my own head. She and her husband sure paid their dues with the psycho stalker... those people (stalkers/molesters) should be put to sleep the long sleep.

But we are left none the wiser. In fact, I question whether there's actually more to understand: she shot what was to hand - as many of us have to do or just not shoot at all - and was blessed with a most photogenic troupe of characters with whom to play. The big one, the one I shall never know, is this: does a mother have different boundaries with her daughters than can a father?

Nonetheless, she is a wonderful photographer.

Rob


« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 04:25:06 AM by Rob C »
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DougDolde

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2017, 06:27:36 PM »

I don't like her work
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Telecaster

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2017, 09:03:22 PM »

But we are left none the wiser. In fact, I question whether there's actually more to understand: she shot what was to hand - as many of us have to do or just not shoot at all - and was blessed with a most photogenic troupe of characters with whom to play.

Yes. I realize “good insight” (per my comment above) can be taken to imply a carefully thought out and planned thing, when in fact it was: notice eye-catching movement/pose, raise camera, click, develop, print, “oohh…that works, must do more of it!”, do more of it and just keep on doing it.

There’s a home recording of John Lennon working on Strawberry Fields Forever. The impression you don’t get listening to it is that he has any idea he’s creating one of the most beloved songs in rock & roll history. Instead he runs through the song over & over, kinda haltingly, likely aware he hasn’t quite got it. At one point he gets annoyed with his guitar playing: “I cannae do it!” (in a faux Scots accent). There’s no magic moment or burst of insight. Yet all the mundane repetition and stumbling eventully turned into The Song.

-Dave-
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Rob C

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2017, 04:24:16 AM »

I don't like her work

I was intrigued enough by your terse comment to switch to your website.

I believe it is an inevitable feeling for you - your own photographic take is almost a polar opposite to hers; I think the surprise would be if you could enjoy her oeuvre.

Rob

Rob C

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2017, 05:33:59 AM »

Yes. I realize “good insight” (per my comment above) can be taken to imply a carefully thought out and planned thing, when in fact it was: notice eye-catching movement/pose, raise camera, click, develop, print, “oohh…that works, must do more of it!”, do more of it and just keep on doing it.

There’s a home recording of John Lennon working on Strawberry Fields Forever. The impression you don’t get listening to it is that he has any idea he’s creating one of the most beloved songs in rock & roll history. Instead he runs through the song over & over, kinda haltingly, likely aware he hasn’t quite got it. At one point he gets annoyed with his guitar playing: “I cannae do it!” (in a faux Scots accent). There’s no magic moment or burst of insight. Yet all the mundane repetition and stumbling eventully turned into The Song.

-Dave-


Looking at lots of her pictures online, I keep coming to the thought that she is really a cross between the positive aspects (depending on us, of course) of David Hamilton and the less savoury ones of Diane Arbus.

She shares Hamilton's acute sense of youthful beauty but, often, betrays it with touches of grit that do little to enhace the whole, except that that`s perhaps the very whole after which she strives. I'm perhaps more uncomfortable with the series Twelve than with her own straight family images; is that because I sense a sort of misplaced adult aura of enjoyment, of incipient gratification in the people with whom the children are sometimes interacting? Is that my own mind playing unwelcome games or am I reading correctly? Who knows - perhaps that's where her skill lies: creating these uncomfortable questions of the self.

The "cabin" location may or may not be typical of her area - I don't know that; what I do know is that I would hate to spend time there. I dislike the sense of disorder and chaos that the terrace area represets, with all those bits of miscellaneous junk everywhere; what sort of mind can either gather all that or live with it? It's been written that she has espoused a white trash ethic for its sense of primitive power without sophistication - dumb brute, if you will - but that the family was never actually poor, both parents being the progeny of doctors, one of whom did his rounds in an Aston Martin. So is she actually faking it? If she is, does that make her a transgressor, an exploiter of both poverty and children? Nope I am not saying that is so; I simply know that those questions arise without definitive answers which, again, may be a huge part of her manipulative skill, her mastery of the strings that pull the puppets: us.

Some time ago I was greatly moved by a film of her southern landscapes, dark, misty and brooding exercises in mood:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EiW9KIZy-c

I may have posted it before, but never mind, it is relevant here. Yet, is the strength of the work powerful enough to be viewed without the music and without the subconscious connotations one bears, internalised, from her other work with family? In essence: does her family history empower the landscape work?

There are very few other photographers of whom one can have as many questions that, really, ask the same questions of the questioner.

How much safer my life feels in the warm embraces of Sarah Moon, Saul Leiter and Hans Feurer!

Rob

Telecaster

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2017, 01:46:38 PM »

Rob, the Mann household isn’t/wasn’t faking it. Sally & her husband certainly chose to reject a more upscale lifestyle, with occupations to match, in favor of a simpler and more rustic one. That was a luxury they had and it puts them in a different category to, say, the “rural poor” who had no such choice. But their lifestyle isn’t a facade…it’s the way they actually live. As you note it does raise questions of authenticity that can, if you’re a thinking person, make you think about your own lifestyle and your own authenticity.  :)

-Dave-
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Rob C

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2017, 03:18:56 PM »

Rob, the Mann household isn’t/wasn’t faking it. Sally & her husband certainly chose to reject a more upscale lifestyle, with occupations to match, in favor of a simpler and more rustic one. That was a luxury they had and it puts them in a different category to, say, the “rural poor” who had no such choice. But their lifestyle isn’t a facade…it’s the way they actually live. As you note it does raise questions of authenticity that can, if you’re a thinking person, make you think about your own lifestyle and your own authenticity.  :)

-Dave-


That is a can of worms that I have managed to bury deep in somebody else's psyche. I hope I never discover in whose!

But yeah, you have touched on something with that one. I think it's partly why I want to leave the island. I look around me every day and see what was a paradise for two but, at best, utterly meaningless for one. I wonder if Sally will discover the same thing when she loses her mate - I think he is still okay but suffering from that degenerative disease whose progress she documents. That aside, even the eventual disappearance of the kids into their own nests will change her perceptions forever. Boy, how true that nothing stays the same. What hope did film ever have? ;-)

Rob

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2017, 04:15:20 PM »


That is a can of worms that I have managed to bury deep in somebody else's psyche. I hope I never discover in whose!

But yeah, you have touched on something with that one. I think it's partly why I want to leave the island. I look around me every day and see what was a paradise for two but, at best, utterly meaningless for one. I wonder if Sally will discover the same thing when she loses her mate - I think he is still okay but suffering from that degenerative disease whose progress she documents. That aside, even the eventual disappearance of the kids into their own nests will change her perceptions forever. Boy, how true that nothing stays the same. What hope did film ever have? ;-)

Rob

Her son died not too, too long ago, so that change has already come.
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Rob C

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2017, 05:18:44 PM »

Her son died not too, too long ago, so that change has already come.

Oh God, I didn't know that.

In a way, that could be worse for her - for anyone - than losing somebody you know has at least led a reasonably long adult life...

Poor woman; she has my sympathies.

Rob

P.S.

I have just read the Wiki contribution to Sally Mann, and in it there is mention of her son's passing last year. The cause could of itself cause a lot of distress beyond the common one of deep, family-blood loss. How horribly tragic.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 04:55:58 AM by Rob C »
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Rand47

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Re: Sally Mann
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2017, 05:40:14 PM »

I’m not a fan, either.  But I do see in her work the deeply felt tragedy of the entropy in which creation is trapped.

Rand
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