Sally Mann
[Photographer, b. 1951, Lexington, Virginia, lives in Lexington.]

 I think my best pictures come when I push myself and tell myself: That’s not good enough; I could do better…. You have to be overcome your fear of the picture and take it. 
 The camera was ever-present. It was always set up. And the children knew that if there was some drama or if there was something alluring or engaging or interesting about what they were doing, a picture was likely to be made. 
 When we made these pictures, the kids knew exactly what to do to make an image work: how to look, how to project degrees of intensity or defiance or plaintive, woebegone, Dorothea Lange dejection. I didn’t pry these pictures from them—they gave them to me. 
 I photograph my children growing up in the same town I did. Many of my pictures are intimate, some are fictions and some are fantastic but most are of ordinary things every mother has seen; a wet bed, bloody nose, candy cigarettes. They dress up, they pout and posture, they paint their bodies, they dive like otters in the dark river. 
 I keep trying to take better pictures. My approach is one of squinty-eyed doggedness. It would seem mechanical except for those ecstatic moments of luck that occasionally befall me. I am convinced that this persistence has played a far greater part in the making of my work than any special talent. 
 We are spinning a story of what it is to grow up. It’s a complicated story and sometimes we try to take on the grand themes: anger, love, death, sensuality and beauty. Without fear and without shame. 
 What is the truth in photography? It can be told in a hundred different ways. Every thirtieth of a second when the shutter snaps, it’s capturing a different piece of information. 
quotes 33-39 of 39
first page previous page page 5 of 5
display quotes