“I tend to agree with the theory that if you want to keep a memory pristine, you must not call upon it too often, for each time it is revisited, you alter it irrevocably, remembering not the original impression left by experience but the last time you recalled it.” – Sally Mann
I’m quite sure that there are a lot of photography lovers out there. Not only artists can see the intimacy and stories that they portray, but pretty much anyone can. I believe that’s the beauty of art. Anyone can have their own perception of it and make of it whatever their imaginations create when they view the work. You don’t have to be an artist to understand it. It just takes a human being. I studied some of Sally Mann’s photographs and wrote my own perceptions of what I gained from it.
Sally Mann is a talented photographer, who focused primarily on the subject matter of her children and growth over the years. Her photographs capture a side of human beings and life forms, which display the beauty and transformation of life and death. This was evident in many of her landscape photographs. Her work is very intriguing. With that being said, she has a way of capturing flaws that are often denied or rejected by society’s standards, and turning them into something beautiful and accepting. Here are some of my questions and answers while viewing the movie, “What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann”.
You can find the link to the preview of the movie here: What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann
Why have the lines changed between public and private changed in the last century?
1. I think the lines between public and private have changed in the last century because people have perceived certain subjects, such as photographs of nude models as indecent, and have also developed different intentions and ways of looking at such things. Today’s society isn’t as free-spirited, and instead of living in a society of freeness, we are living in a society that is constrained, forcing people to hide what is natural or bare truth. The idea of truth and natural have been denied to a certain extent in this new culture and generation that has been created.
Why and how have these ideas, discoveries, and technological advances contributed to these changes?
2. Ideas, discoveries, and technological advances have contributed to these changes because technology, music, fashion, in addition to other things have influenced people to expose only what is decent or comfortable to the public, therefore hiding the truth. Technology and discoveries have in a way, taken away the natural aspect from our culture, therefore falsifying and hiding the true beauty that can be seen through natural images.
When do you see the most obvious changes?
3. I see the most obvious changes when it comes to things such as nude models, or real life situations that are seen as a discomfort to the public. I feel like the public understands photos like these, but they don’t want to accept it because they haven’t experienced it themselves, therefore they perceive it based off of judgment and the idea of what is right and wrong.
How do facts separate themselves from opinions?
4. Facts separate themselves from opinions because facts are things that are exposed clearly, and tell the true story. Opinions are simply how one perceives or judges a subject through their own eyes without allowing the photograph to speak the truth for itself.
What do you think the difference between revelation and exposure is?
5. The difference between revelation and exposure is that revelation is something being innocently revealed, while exposure tends to be a subject that is presented in a way that is based off of truth or a straightforward idea, and helps one to recognize the difference between “fact and fiction”.
Example of revelation?
6. An example of revelation is a photograph of a small girl doing ballet, while exposure would be a picture of a starving homeless little girl gazing at the viewer.
Do you think American novelist and photographer Wright Morris might place Sally Mann on the side of exposure or revelation?
7. I think Wright Morris might place Sally Mann on the side of exposure, as she documented things such as her nude children, and exposed the bare truth and everyday lives of her children to the public in an “indecent” manner as perceived by society.
What do you think is the difference between private and invisible?
8. The difference between private and invisible is that private is something being hidden from the public, and something that is not visible or exposed. Invisible is something that is present to the public or viewer, but not immediately visible or noticed.
How do you make the invisible visible?
9. You make the invisible visible by presenting the subject in a way that is emphasized, and providing small details and clues which give the photograph a more conceptual meaning, without throwing it directly at the viewer.