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Artist
Sally Mann
Title
Untitled #45
Date
1998
Medium
gelatin silver enlargement print, toned with tea mounted on rag board
Dimensions
Image: 40 1/8 × 50 3/8 inches (101.9 × 128 cm)Framed: 42 1/2 × 52 3/4 × 3/8 inches (108 × 134 × 1 cm)
Tags
Photography
Credit Line
Museum purchase.
Accession Number
2010.26
Sally Mann, a Virginia-born and raised photographer, is connected deeply to the Southern landscape she has been photographing since the 1970s. She often works with 19th century printing techniques to conjure her eerily haunting images of the landscape. Using a 100-year-old Bellows camera and a wet-plate collodion technique, she revels in the imperfections caused by the ancient method, embracing scratches and dust on the glass as serendipitous marks. Combined with the abstracted light, this process makes her photographs appear more like a murky memory than a clear-cut landscape.

That light and sense of loss is made apparent in Untitled #45 from her Deep South series. Barely visible, the landscape appears more like an abstracted string of lights floating in the dark than a picture of a particular place and time. But Mann embraces the ambiguity produced from the lack of clarity. The technique and subject matter reinforce the power of the Southern landscape to avoid easy categorization.