One of the most popular and creative photographers in America is Sally Mann and the Getty Center in Los Angeles now has a show of her work. It is called “ Sally Mann, A Thousand Crossings “ and it is showing from November 16, 2018 until February 10, 2019.
I have been a fan of Sally’s work since the book titled “Immediate Family” in the 1980’s. Some of the images from that work caused quite an uproar across the country because of the unclothed images of her children. They were beautiful and thought provoking, but some people couldn’t handle the subject matter. Times have changed and lots of people are now attending the show with these very images. Sally has a lot to say in her images. She has a complicated relationship with the south where she has lived all of her life. She delves deeply into its racist past and the relationship that black people have to her family and with American. She also tackles the history of the south with images of the battlefields of the Civil War. One image that I found powerful was the spot in the riverbank where the body of Emmett Till was found.
Many of her images are dark and foreboding. They are quite beautiful. Sally shoots with large format cameras using various techniques such as wet collodion, tintypes, and the use of ortho film. Today many photographers are rejecting digital and shooting film and people fawn over the work because it is not digital but they just don’t have much to say beyond technique. They should really study the work of Sally Mann, it is art of the highest caliber.