Monday, March 7, 2011

Digital Media: Sally Mann

       
       The documentary about Sally Mann details her journey through her career as a photographer, as well as her battle against the opinions of her audience.  The artistic spotlight first focussed on Sally's photography in the 1990s with her project "Immediate Family", which contained photos of her family, many of which were nude photos of her children.  Much of her attention was through her infamy that resulted from this project, which brought up many debates regarding the appropriateness of her photography.  Nevertheless, Sally continued to take photos on her large format camera, slowly moving away from portraits of her children to landscapes.  When her dog died, she dedicated a project to remembrance, using hair, nails, and bones from the body as symbols of the dog she loved.  When a criminal killed himself while running from the police in a forest next to Sally's farm, she went and spent some time near the spot, considering the significance of life and death.  When her husband discovered that he would have to fight muscular dystrophy, Sally made the project "Proud Flesh", documenting the weakening of his body as it submitted to the disease.  Most recently, Sally visited a forensics facility that studied characteristics of decomposition of corpses. There, she documented the bodies that were out in the open, exposed to the elements, slowly returning into the ground.  Her project focused on how how life is a cycle of life and death, and when we die we return into the ground that we walk on.
       As a movie, this documentary portrayed Sally in an objective light. It didn't focus too much on her faults or her triumphs, but instead it showed who she was as a photographer, what she has done in the artistic community, and the impact that she has made with her photography.  The movie demonstrates a sense of reverence and respect for who Sally is and what she has done.  As a photographer, I would highly recommend this movie to other artists, as I found it to be inspiring and meaningful, besides simply giving me a broader knowledge of modern photographers.

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I am a sophomore in college, studying Biochemistry and math, but I am a pilgrim for knowledge. I seek neither greatness nor acknowledgment, but rather to experience and understand the complex world of ours. My desire for this experiential journey of mine is to gain knowledge and wisdom and, more importantly, to form strong bonds of friendship with the individuals around me. This journey began in December of 2008, when a friend of mine died at the age of 17. In his short life, he had changed lives in ways that I never have done. I was struck by the beauty of the life that had been lost, and I made a promise that day to reach out to people around me; to live a life not wasted. My eyes were opened. My life was changed. My journey had begun.

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