Monday, 20 September 2010

Sally Mann love

2 weeks ago we went to the Photographers' Gallery to see Sally Mann's exhibit. It was amazing. I've mentioned before that I love here work so was pretty excited to get to see the real images up close and personal.

She had 4 different series of images on display. The first images where from Faces, which were intimate and personal portraits of here children. These photographs where a result of here earlier work Immediate Family.

Because of her use of antique cameras the final result feels raw and honest. The images contain drips, marks and fussy lines which all add to the uniqueness of each portrait. All of the photographs are a close crop of the face and often blurred. This gives an impression of the subject rushing as if they couldn't stay for very long. I think they give the feeling of a memory, only the most prominent features or an expression defines that person are captured clearly. The image featured above is in my opinion one of the best.

The actual photographs where huge. Mann is well know for using large format cameras but these were the biggest out of the whole collection. This made it very easy to see all the detail and the sublet changes in tone. The room was darkly lit which also add to the mysterious, memory like atmosphere.

Upstairs was the rest of her collection was split into three sections. The biggest part of this was dominated by Immediate Family. I had seen a lot of these images before so it wasn't a surprise for me, but it was great to see the real size of the images rather than the tiny versions printed in books. Next was the series Deep South with were amazing. These were my favourite images out of the whole collection. The image seemed to glow as they had a strange kind of yellow white where the image was brightest. Again because the landscapes were photographed using an antique camera and had the feeling of a memory, or a haunted land.

I had never before images Mann as a landscape photographer but she really does capture some amazing stuff. The gosly mist and strange shapes definatly make the audience view the landscape in a differnt way.

The last images were What remains. This captured decaying bodies found in nature. She photographs through all the stages of decomposition. There was so much detail in the images, and in one even Mann's finger print could be seen. After going round the images I sat in a film for a few moments that interviewed/documented Mann and her work. It appeared at the moment that she is very interested in death as she was filmed photographing her dogs bones. But the images don't look gory or gross but are interesting and in their own way very beautiful.

Part of the reason I like her work so much is that is done using old cameras and techniques. This creates such a contrats to the highly polsihed images that are produced today that it intrigues me. These processes will be something I will try and explore this term at uni.

All images are copyright The Photograohers' Gallery.

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