Sally Mann and her unique technique

Mar 1, 2010
by: nataliad

Something I have become interested in learning more about is how a portrait can be artistic and impactive. I started to become interested in Sally Mann because her photographs were in black and white, but were still beautiful and interesting. So far I have learned that Sally Mann was born in Lexington, Virginia and lives there still.She has won numerous awards for her photographs. She took pictures with a damaged lens, and a camera that required her to use her hand as a shutter.

  The source of this information is to educate people about talented artists, their work, and their lives. The information that I've been reading is from PBS.

This topic of portraits relates to me and my interests because it is what I would like my photos to look like . One thing that surprised me was Sally Mann's pictures of her children were very controversial  . One thing that I wonder about this person's work and life is how she was inspired to photograph her family in such a revealing, intimate way. It is very daring for her to show her family's daily life and activities in such a public and raw way.


Sally Mann was involved with taking pictures that seem older than they really are. Sally Mann used an older camera, and a broken lens. Her photographs have distinct imperfections, such as scratches and nicks, that showed of her style.

Being that I didn't have a lot of background information on Sally Mann, I chose to do some more research. As I searched for another source of information about this person, I came across this additional website: Sally Mann  This website provided a lot of information and opinions on portraits and Sally Mann's technique

"To achieve these sublime effects, Mann takes tremendous risks, pushing the work out onto one technical or emotional limb after another. At the approximate center of the "Georgia" series is a light-blasted image, overexposed almost into oblivion. Looking closely, we can make out some bare trees to the right, and three telephone poles on a low hill. In the center of the image appears an abstract but unmistakably vulval form, which seems to be emanating from the landscape. Or perhaps the landscape is collapsing into it.". This statement didn't really surprise me all that much, but it did make me feel fascinated. I felt this way because Sally Mann is very successful, and yet she chooses an older camera over a new expensive one in order to be unique and develop her photographic aesthetic.

In the article, Sally Mann there was a statement that made me nod my head in agreement with the writer. It was: "The rich tones of the "Virginia" prints, especially, give them a watery look that draws us in and obscures the edges between things, a quality reminiscent of the photographs of Josef Sudek. There seems to be little there by way of incident in either Mann's or Sudek's landscapes, yet both offer rich atmospheres for the eye to enter." This is so true because Sally Mann's technique is very different. Although some of her photographs may look scratched or nicked, they are all the more interesting because of it. She really plays with developing, and making the photograph into her own interpretation. She really is an artist because of the wonderful pictures she takes.

Now that I have done this research, it makes me think more about my own work of a picture of my sister I think that Sally Mann has a very unique approach to photography. The lighting in her black and white pictures really make certain things stand out. I learned that the best photographs may not come from the best camera, it just depends on HOW it is taken.

Next, with my own work, I hope to play more with shadows and shading. I would like my photos to be accentuated by the environment and camera they were taken with. I would also learn more about making my photos creative and different.I hope to accomplish learning my own technique and preferences in photography, Sally Mann has connected with me because her photos are striking, and I would like to accomplish that as well.













Dear Natalia : I enjoyed

NedaM's picture
Submitted by NedaM on Tue, 2010-03-02 10:15.

Dear Natalia :

I enjoyed your discussion post, "Sally Mann and her unique technique" because I also did a discussion post about Sally Mann and her work! I really enjoyed reading this post of yours and comparing it to mine.
One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: "It is very daring for her to show her family's daily life and activities in such a public and raw way." I think this is accurate because I also agree with this statement. Sally Mann takes photos around her home environment and her home life, involving pictures of her children naked and the nature around her house in Virginia.

Another sentence that I came across was: "The lighting in her black and white pictures really make certain things stand out. I learned that the best photographs may not come from the best camera, it just depends on HOW it is taken." This stood out for me because Sally Mann doesn't have the same practical equipment as everybody else but she still manages to take great photos and everybody has the potential to do that also! I agree that the lighting in her black and white photos are very expressive.

Your post reminds me of something that happened to me. It reminds me of my own post about Sally Mann and it really connects both of our opinions on her and her work. We have the same ideas about her work and I agree with you on many things!
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because you seem to have grasped Sally Mann's photos the same way that I did! I look forward to seeing what you write about next and how that also connected with my posts.



 I think this is a really

Submitted by adelinej on Tue, 2010-03-02 10:48.

 I think this is a really good photographer as well, I have never seen her work before and the way you are describing her work . The picture of the girl makes me think of my theme which is to catch people in their natural habitat doing what ever they want to do, like that little girl spinning around in her dress, that photo was obviously not planned out. Another photographer that interest me that I think you might like is Garry Winogrand. Check out my post