Deep South – Sally Mann
I first discovered Sally Mann when my children were young. She had just released ‘Immediate Family’ documenting her three children in a way that seemed uncanny in it’s resemblance to my own life. Her children were her muses, and she was inspired by the dressing up, injuries, tears and play that accompany growing up. All of this was set to the back drop of the South. Literally. Her homeland influenced how the images shot from the page. There was a melancholy to the trees and an over reaching ache to the hills and grounds that her kids stood on. They could not have been shot elsewhere and had the same effect.
Now with Deep South, I am catapulted back to a place and time that I have seen before on my journeys there. The south is different, and anyone who would tell you otherwise, must never have been there. The text describes what is palpable so well;
‘Flannery O’Conner said the South is Christ-Haunted, but I say it’s death-haunted. The Southern landscape, terrible in its beauty, in its indifference.’
Working out of the back of her truck with chemicals, wet – plate negatives and a darkcloth, these images appear as antique photography and when looking at a portrait of a tree, it may as well be of a fallen soldier. The history of the land seeps through on every page.