It's been a number of years since I have looked at Sally Mann's work, most notably when we met during her visit to the SCAD Photo Department/Savannah, Georgia in 1996 or 97. At the time, she was just beginning her 'new' landscape work, making a departure from the portraiture that had established her as a visionary photographer. Immediate Family never really spoke to me, although many of my colleagues at the time were absolute Mann FANATICS. During her informal SCAD residency, I was privileged to see some of her in-progress work prints; beautiful, nearly-opaque images of Kudzu. She was also beginning to work with the anachronistic photographic process of wet plate collodion. For the very first time, her vision began to resonate with me...
Fast forward to the present as I just watched a fascinating documentary, titled Sally Mann: What Remains. Filmed over several years (and released in 2007), it chronicles her intensely personal and contemplative relationships; her rural landscape, her father, her husband and, most notably, the subject of death. The body of work depicted in the film, large format images of human decomposition and decay, is nothing short of Robert Adams' notion of Truth and Beauty.
For the first time, I am the now the one who is a Mann FANATIC. Thanks, Sally.
(Above is just a two minute excerpt from the two hour film. Thanks to Ovation TV for continuing to broadcast such culturally important content).