Friday, April 25, 2008

Film: What Remains: The Life & Work of Sally Mann

Last night, my husband and I went to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art's Noble Theatre to watch a documentary about Sally Mann, her life and photography. As a photographer myself, it was really inspiring to watch another artist working in the medium of wet-plate photography. It was also comforting to see that even the most well-known artists have their own insecurities about their work, struggles with creative blocks and challenges that the rest of us experience in our artistic lives. In the film, Mann talked about the misconception that most people have of thinking that when she completes a project or body of work, she must feel relieved. On the contrary, she said that is her most anxious time. How could I possibly make my next body of work better than this one? Where will I even begin? She said it is in those times that it feels nearly impossible to even take another picture. But her advice was inspiring in it's simplicity - just set up the camera and take a picture. It doesn't matter what it's of. It doesn't even matter if it's good. Just going through that process will get the mind working on how to make this photograph better than the last one.

So, when we hit those blocks, we just have to remember to set up the camera and take a picture, get out a canvas or paper and make a mark or start working that block of clay. Eventually, it will form itself into something we are excited about.

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