If you have met me, and talked to me about photography, you will know that I love Sally Mann. Her work is deep, and meaningful. I love the ambiguity and imperfections in her photographs. In Photo School, my friend Clara and I, related to her a lot not only because we were in awe of her work but because she lives in our home town. When I got married, Clara’s gift to me was a book of Sally Mann’s “Deep South” series, a gift that I really treasure. Her photographs have an essence, which is something I strive for in my own photographs.
After a talk with Warnie this morning about last night’s blog post, I realized that I had talked down a lot of my work from Art School. That was not my intention at all. I really take pride in my work and love doing art, whether that is printmaking, photography, painting, or sculpture. And I think I have a talent for it. The last couple years out of school have been harder than I thought they would be, and I have found this to be true for several of my friends from school as well. Not only do you no longer have the support of your fellow artists, but you also no longer have the same resources available to you. It’s hard, very hard. My Professors tried to tell me how hard it would be, and I didn’t fully understand. I am just now getting to the point where art is invading my every thought. I think about painting, dream about smelling darkroom chemicals, and long to feel plaster in my hands again.
I think that is another reason why I respect Sally Mann so much. In her “Immediate Family” series she talks about how part of the reason she took pictures of her children was that they were there. You work with what you have and find something beautiful, or mysterious in it.
As an artists it’s also great to find things that inspire you to keep your spirits going and keep you motivated. If you’re looking for some free motivation, check out the Art 21 Series by PBS. You can watch it for free on their website at http://video.pbs.org. They do interviews with many different artists from large scale sculpture, to paintings, to different types of photography. Just hearing the way these artist talk about their work is inspiration enough. Be sure to check it out.