When I began delving into the world of photography I had no idea what to expect. I knew I liked how when I had captured a moment on film, and later digitally, I felt like I had preserved the way I saw the world at that moment. I knew that I liked to photograph people more than anything else. Try to capture the complexity of their features as well as something about their souls. It was as if I could reach in their eyes and find their secrets.
Art photography is very different from the kind of family portraiture I do now. Having a business like I do allows me to bring home something to live off of. I enjoy it all very much, but I truly love artistic portraiture most of all. I wish I always had access to a darkroom and an enlarger. I wish I could offer more of the fine art portraiture I love so much. I fall in love with images that are both enlightening and haunting all at once.
My infatuation with this artistic portraiture began when I discovered Sally Mann and her body of work entitled Immediate Family, which an art friend of mine was using for her advanced thesis paper. While the images caused many to question if the work was to be considered art or if something more sinister lie beneath the surface, I personally love the intimate moments Mann captured of her family. Her children evoke both a feeling of youth and sophistication, a toughness as well as a vulnerability.
The documentary about her work, which I found on Ovation TV, further fueled my love of her work. Using a large format 8x10 glass plate negative bellows camera for her work, each photograph took time to set up and capture. Most photographers use 35mm, 120 film, or digital media to capture images quickly and easily, allowing a more photojournalistic approach, but Mann's equipment is cumbersome and involves time to set up and capture an image. Each image captured, therefore, is a labor of love.
Mann also has completed several more series, including one about her husband's battle with muscular dystrophy and another series about death, in which one of their deceased dogs is photographed in various stages of decomposition. Somehow, she makes it all interesting and beautiful through her lens.
Mann's three children, famous from their portraits, are now grown. Her eldest, Jessie, is also a photographer and a model, while her other children, Emmett and Virginia, pursued other careers.
I hope you enjoy the magic I see in her work! Happy Thursday!
*all images by Sally Mann, found by google image search.