Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sally Mann on Being a Southern Photographer

Quote for the day --

"I do consider myself a Southern photographer.

"I believe my work has that ineffable, Southern quality, whatever it is.

"At the very least, there's a kind of humidity to the photographs.

"But what is it that actually makes my work Southern?

"Oh, the obsession with place, with family, with both the personal and the social past; the susceptibility to myth; the love of this light, which is all our own; and the readiness to experiment with dosages of romance that would be fatal to most twentieth-century artists.

"In that sense, Southern artists are like certain of our mountain religious folk, who, in their devotions, subject themselves to snake bites that would kill or disable anyone else.

"What snake venom is to them, romanticism is to the Southern artist: a terrible risk, and a ticket to transcendence."

 -- Sally Mann, from A Place Not Forgotten: Landscapes of the South, University of Kentucky Art Museum (1999)

(with thanks to my friend and fellow photographer Larry Earley, who pointed this quotation out to me.)


  1. An incredibly beautiful photograph.

  2. I think that is a pretty good definition/summation.