Crabbing At Pawleys
Into The Flesh
"Few photographers of anytime or place have or will match Mann's steadiness of simple eyesight, her serene technical brilliance and the clearly communicated eloquence she drives from her subjects, human, and otherwise. Subjects observed with an arbor that is all but indistinguishable from love". Time
As I was researching for this project, there really didn't seem to be much in cyberspace that emphasized individual critique when it came to Mann's work. So I did my best to dig deep and found as much as I thought necessary to create this entry. Enjoy
Composition and style:
From what I gather, and if it isn't horribly obvious, Mann has an natural eye for divine composition. Most of her early work is said to be inspired by her fabulous home is Lexington, Virginia where she was born, and to this day still calls home. She has spoken about using the light and atmosphere of the south as the conduit to the final photographic results. Her style is an absurd mixture of obscene, disturbing, ghosty, beautiful images. On the collodion process: In her goal of producing an interesting or mysterious
image Mann was able to incorporate the flaws of the collodion process including chemical streaks and blotches and dust spots into the aesthetic of her work. The resulting images, which are flecked
with marks and blemishes from the sticky collodion negative,are unnervingly similar to their historic counterparts.
Camera and Technique:
Along with using large format as a prime tool, she also uses the 19th century inspired Wet Plate negative technique, a process that is historical in itself. With a process so "cranky" and "meticulous", and chemicals almost impossible to find, she has mastered this interesting phenomenon in her own way. According to her, people have even died during this process, from ingesting the liquids. geessh! She admits that her equipment is of no admiration. Rather than buying pristine, expensive, brand lens, she will spend all of her time in antique shops looking for the lens with just the perfect amount of decrepitude. While most lens's are an effort of many glass elements working together, most of hers have multiple pieces missing , throwing off the relation to one another.
"You can tell a good ruined lens right from the get go. They are the ones you find in the trash cans of old photo studios in some ghost town in Iowa. I mean, thats the kind of lens I'm looking for." Sally Mann