Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sally Mann Response

Sally Mann's work expresses the truths about life, even when they are often unseen or not wanted to be seen. She used to photograph her children in their every day lives. She often photographed her young children naked, which created a huge discrepincy. Many people questioned if this was right or not, and about the morals surrounding her photographs. Now that her children have grown up she needed to find new subject matter. Then there was a bitter sweet occurance, a prisoner was headed toward her house and they shot his hip then he shot himself in the head. This started her fascination with death and the organic elements of it. The Flesh and the Spirit revolved around her collections about life, but mostly death and her experimentation with new mediums.
As you entered the exhibit the first thing you saw was a large grid of self portraits which she had used a process called wet plateing on black glass. Although very distorted the pictures were mysterious and made me want to look at them closer to figure out just what her facial expressions were or even what I was seeing. I remember one on the grid reminded me of a famous picture of Harriet Tubman. The next room focused on her husband and distinct parts of his body. I did not learn until later during the documentary that he had a disease. his disease is eating away at his muscled and on one side of his body it is noticible. She is trying to show through her work how life really is and what death approaching looks like. She then focused on battle fields and how they look different then a normal landscape. As if the earth is different in those areas because of all the blood and lives lost.
Her fascination with death continued into what I thought was the most disturbing part of the exhibit. She traveled to a forensic site where they studied decaying bodies. She photographed the decaying bodies from different angles and expressing particular parts of their body. One man she photographed she enphasized the wrinkles of his foot via her perspective and vantage point. She then took pictures of a rotting face, a skeleton a pulled out view of the site and many more disturbing photos. To me this series of photos from the forensic site were the most stomach turning and shocking photos.
Overall Sally Mann's exhibit was very successful and interesting. I loved the Documentary at the end of the show it helped tie up all the lose ends I was questioning in my head. Unlike what she said in the movie, she has not disappeared and became an old news photographer, I think with this show she has proven herself to not being old news. She is still a dynamic artist.

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