Sally Mann


American Photographer

Author Quotes

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.

I?m past photographing to see what things look like photographed.

Like all photographers, I depend on serendipity, and when you're photographing children there's often an abundance of it. I would have an idea of what a photograph would look like and then something would happen - a dog might lumber in and become a critical element. I pray for what might be referred to as the angel of chance.

The fact is that these are not my children; they are figures on silvery paper slivered out of time. They represent my children at a fraction of a second on one particular afternoon with infinite variables of light, expression, posture, muscle tension, mood, wind and shade. These are not my children at all; these are children in a photograph.

This kind of telescopic compassion is not an uncommon phenomenon, and has a close relative in the kindness one sees displayed toward pampered urban household pets, even as, a stone?s throw away, homeless people sleep on benches.

Writing is much, much harder than taking pictures because you have to man-haul it all out of your insides.

As ephemeral as our footprints were in the sand along the river, so also were those moments of childhood caught in the photographs. And so will be our family itself, our marriage, the children who enriched it and the love that has carried us through so much. All this will be gone. What we hope will remain are these pictures, telling our brief story.

I can think of numberless males, from Bonnard to Callahan, who have photographed their lovers and spouses, but I am having trouble finding parallel examples among my sister photographers. The act of looking appraisingly at a man, making eye contact on the street, asking to photograph him, studying his body, has always been a brazen venture for a woman, though, for a man, these acts are commonplace, even expected.

I like to make people a little uncomfortable. It encourages them to examine who they are and why they think the way they do.

I?m so worried that I?m going to perfect [my] technique someday. I have to say it?s unfortunate how many of my pictures do depend upon some technical error.

Looking through my long photographic and literary relationship with my own native soil I can perceive a definite kinship with those fake-lorish bards wailing away about their place-pain.

The fundamental thing about my personality is that I think I'm an imposter.

Though I made my share of mistakes, as all parents do, I was devoted to my kids. I walked them to school every morning and walked back to pick them up at 3.

You can tell a good ruined lens, right from the get-go.... That?s the kind of lens I'm looking for.

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American Photographer