Katie Clifford previews photographer Sally Mann’s new show Proud Flesh which opens in the Big Apple in a couple of weeks.
Mann is most known for her images of children and addressing through her work, family relationships. Consistently challenging the viewer, Mann has shown the relationship between parent and child, siblings, human beings and the natural world, as well as life and death. In her new work titled Proud Flesh Mann turns the camera on her husband Larry.
For six years, Mann photographed her spouse of 39 years (who also suffers from muscular dystrophy) and demonstrates through her work the relationship between husband and wife. Reversing the traditional role of the nude woman as artistic muse and the object of the camera’s lens, Mann turns her camera on “her Mann” and shows him to us in all his vulnerabilities. Her extraordinary images do not objectify Larry, as is so often in nude studies, but rather present a mature male form which elucidates the candid relationship between the couple.
The images are contact prints made from wet-plate collodion negatives; a photographic process, which is often unpredictable, giving a uniquely tangible quality to the final image.
Sally Mann is one of the most well-known American photographers and has received countless awards, including National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for Humanity (NEH) grants, and Guggenheim Foundation grants.
An exhibition of the work opens on 15 September at the Gagosian Gallery, New York.
Katie Clifford, 28 August 2009