I have no animus toward digital, though I still pretty much take everything on a silver-based negative, either a wet plate or just regular silver 8x10. But I've started messing a little bit with scanning the negative and then reworking it just slightly.
I will confess that in the interest of narrative I secretly hoped I'd find a payload of southern gothic: deceit and scandal, alcoholism, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land, abandonments, blow jobs, suicides, hidden addictions, the tragically early death of a beautiful bride, racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of a prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder. If any of this stuff lay hidden in my family history, I had the distinct sense I'd find it in those twine-bound boxes in the attic. And I did: all of it and more.
It's not a lack of confidence, because I can't argue with the fact that I've taken some good pictures. But it's just a raw fear that you've taken the last one.
Sometimes I think the only memories I have are those that I?ve created around photographs of me as a child. Maybe I?m creating my own life. I distrust any memories I do have. They may be fictions, too.
There is something about this process, and about the whole 8 x 10 [camera] business, that takes it out of the arena of the snapshot, even though, of course, I'm always desperate for that feeling. I wanted those family pictures to look effortless. I wanted them to look like snapshots. And some of them did.
When we were on the farm, we were isolated, not just by geography but by the primitive living conditions: no electricity, no running water and, of course, no computer, no phone.
All the good pictures that came so easily now make the next set of pictures virtually impossible in your mind.
How can a sentient person of the modern age mistake photography for reality? All perception is selection, and all photographs--no matter how objectively journalistic the photographer's intent--exclude aspects of the moment's complexity. Photographs economize the truth; they are always moments more or less illusorily abducted from time's continuum.
I have nothing but respect for people who travel the world to make art and put exotic Indians in front of linen backdrops, but it's always been my philosophy to try to make art out of the everyday and ordinary.
I wish I could be a better writer, but writing is so difficult. I get seduced by visual aesthetics. Because I just like making beautiful pictures, sometimes I wander away from making a clear statement.
It's usually so fraught when you're taking a picture. I work with an 8-by-10 view camera and there's a, you know, hood that I put over my head, and it's tricky and complicated.
Sometimes, when I get a good picture, it feels like I have taken another nervous step into increasingly rarified air. Each good-news picture, no matter how hard-earned, allows me only a crumbling foothold on this steepening climb?an ascent whose milestones are fear and doubt.
There's always a time in any series of work where you get to a certain point and your work is going steadily and each picture is better than the next, and then you sort of level off and that's when you realize that it's not that each picture is better than the next, it's that each picture up's the ante. And that every time you take one good picture, the next one has got to be better.
When you look at your life as an artist, you do see that when you get to be 60, you're coming - this is the last chapter.
Art is seldom the result of true genius; rather, it is the product of hard work and skills learned and tenaciously practiced by regular people.
I baked bread, hand-ground peanuts into butter, grew and froze vegetables, and, every morning, packed lunches so healthful that they had no takers in the grand swap-fest of the lunchroom.
I have three libraries. As a gift, a friend alphabetized and organized my main library of novels, history books, and nonfiction. Then I have a photo-book collection. Then there's this nearly whole room of my childhood books. I've also got cookbooks and a big collection of horse-related books.
I work all the time. I never leave home. I mean, I just stay honed in on what's ahead. Sally Mann Work, Time, Home I'm just the opposite of a lot of photographers who want everything to be really, really sharp. And they're always, you know, stopping it down to F64.
Like all photographers, I depend on serendipity I pray for what might be referred to as the angel of chance.
The earth doesn?t care where death occurs. ...It?s the artist, by coming in and writing about it or painting it or taking a photograph of it, that makes the earth powerful and creates death?s memory. Because the land will not remember by itself, but the artist will.
These dog bones are just making art the way art should be made, without any overarching reference. Just for fun, if you can imagine that-art for fun.
Where does the self actually go? All the accumulation of memory ? the mist rising from the river and the birth of children and the flying tails of the Arabians in the field ? and all the arcane formulas, the passwords, the poultice recipes, the Latin names of trees, the location of the safe deposit key, the complex skills to repair and build and grow and harvest ? when someone dies, where does it all go?
As an artist your trajectory just has to keep going up. The thing that subverts your next body of work is the work you've taken before.
I believe that photographs actually rob all of us of our memory.
I just started taking pictures, and it was - it was an instant love affair. It was just ecstatic. Sally Mann Love, Pictures, Started You start blocking out things, and that's a really important part of taking a picture is the ability to isolate what you're - what you're concentrating on.