Sally Mann's New Series "Proud Flesh"

Posted by David Ozanich — 18 Feb 2011

sallymann.jpgSally and Larry Mann

All Things Considered took a trip to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley to visit Sally Mann whom they call "one of the most influential photographers of her time."

The main thrust of the profile is to look at her new series "Proud Flesh" which focuses on her husband Larry and his struggle with muscular dystrophy.

Sally photographed Larry using a cumbersome process that goes back to the 1850s: collodion wet plate, creating a large-format negative image on glass, not film.


She shoots with antique view cameras from the early 1900s, the kind where you duck under a cloth to take the picture. They have hulking wooden frames, accordion-like bellows and long brass lenses held together with tape, with mold growing inside. She says she loves that. It softens the light, makes the pictures timeless.

"I'm just the opposite of a lot of photographers who want everything to be really, really sharp and they're always stopping it down to F64 and they like detail and they look with their magnifying glass to make sure everything's really sharp," she says. "I don't want any of that. I want it to be mysterious."

Listen to the nearly ten-minute interview here and then watch her discuss some of her photos in the video below.

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