“Stop trying to get it right,” she said. “Just take the picture.”

Just earlier this year, I discovered the work of Sally Mann (I know… I am just a little slower than others!) and really love the images she makes. Sally Mann works with antique view cameras to create her images. Below is one of my favourite photograph by her.

sally-mann-warm-springs

At Warm Springs (1991) from the series, Immediate Family by Sally Mann

Recently, Sally Mann had an article, Sally Mann’s Exposure on The New York Times and it was a great piece in terms of content. To digress a little, what I found interesting was the way the article had some accompaniment of moving images done by Leslye Davies. These short video vignettes were a snippet into Sally Mann’s life in Virginia. This article, in terms of the layout, is a portrayal of what the future of news and media is going to be like. For me, it is like Harry Potter’s moving portraits of people within their picture frame. It makes them seem alive.

Leslye Davies wrote about her assignment to create those vignettes in a ‘Story behind the story’ article called ‘A lesson from Sally Mann: ‘Just take the picture’. I found it so incredibly interesting as Leslye recalled her moments whilst trying to capture Mann and how she told her to “Stop trying to get it right,” and “Just take the picture.”

Mann typically shoots with large format. One would think that the analogue way was to ensure that everything was set up as well as it should be in front of the camera before one would take the shot. For Mann, it was all about imperfections and as Leslye wrote, ‘Hers is a sensibility that embraces mistakes’ as opposed to herself who tries and ‘avoid mistakes whilst on assignment for The New York Times’. Leslye shot digitally for this assignment and after Mann’s words, she shot this image of Mann below.

sallymann-by leslye davies

Sally Mann by Leslye Davies

It is not often that you get to find out about what happens behind the scenes during a photography sitting. Definitely well worth a read.

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