New Books!

They took awhile to arrive but finally they did! I ordered “What Remains” and “Immediate Family” from Sally Mann. The first I thought to be more special than it ended up to be and the latter was also meant to support to the classes I’m preparing to give next year. Luckily it got here in time.

“Immediate Family” is really special: (her own) child’s portraits as I have never seen them. So intimate, like you’re watching something that you shouldn’t yet so familiar at the same time. My own youth consisted out of different emotions and a part of them felt represented in that book in a way. Quite special. She shows stuff that most people would think about twice, mostly in a ” what-would-other-people think-about-me/them” kind of manner and it’s great seeing those photos in there. They are very open, sometimes sceneries but very open nonetheless. Too bad she has been sewed because of the nude displayed. People are such hypocrites.

Immediate Family
Immediate Family

“What Remains” I thought to be something different. I saw the documentary, which I loved, but this book displayed many lousy Collodion plates. Horrible qua technique with only flaws supposed to make the photo. I don’t like that. I know she’s a technical well executable person but that just lacked it. I remembered landscapes that had more mysteriousness to them and more liquid darkness while still being able to see somewhat of an image to let loose your imagination. I remembered more of her sick husband, those photos seemed brilliant. The book contained none of that but that could be my own misconception. I thought more of it and was disappointed but still glad I bought it to have a wide representation of her work, of which most I do love.

The first part of the book shows photos of her dead decomposed grey hound Eva. The second part contains photographs of dead and decomposing bodies at a federal Forensic Anthropology Facility, also known as the “body farm”. Here she was allowed to take photos of the bodies lying there which really gives for some creepy images. Amazing she could stand the smell. The third part displays her property where an armed and escaped convict was killed. The fourth part is a study of the grounds of Antietam (the site of the bloodiest single day battle in American history during the Civil War). And the final part is made out of close-ups of the faces of her children. The study of mortality, decay and death ends with hope and love; so is the message.

What Remains
What Remains

The 3rd book, Keeping Shadows, I just bought out of the blue because someone advised me to buy it. So I did and have yet to see what it is about. The photos inside look old, the text looks interesting so I can’t be disappointed I guess 🙂

Keeping Shadows
Keeping Shadows

Sally Mann has been the subject of 2 film documentaries. One is called “What Remains” and the other “Blood Ties”. Have to look up that last one, haven’t seen it yet.

And, hopefully, next Tuesday to the Fotomuseum Den Haag to see the exhibition of Sally Mann. One of the few days I can make it and I hope the train will ride that day arrgghhh!


  1. If you are interested in Sally Mann and the work with her husband, I could highly recommend Proud Flesh, just published this past year. 🙂 And I am glad I bumped into this blog of yours since I might have missed the exhibition in Den Haag – will try to make it!

    1. Thanx for you comment and the tip! Indeed, Proud Flesh might be the book I confused What Remains with. The photos I saw of her husband regarding that theme were brilliant. Thanx again!

      I have yet to visit the exhibition in The Hague myself. Time is such a problem for me during these days…I’ll probably go and see it on the 3rd of January. Hope you enjoy the show!

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  4. I couldn’t agree more about “What Remains.” I loved the documentary, but the photos themselves are pretty boring. The idea behind them is great (didn’t really get why her children’s faces were in the series) but the execution is just sort of… meh.

    1. The photos in that documentary came across as way much more interesting as in the book. I missed quite a bit from what was in the film such as the mysterious landscapes and such. The execution on Collodion was bad unfortunately, it was not nothing but vague stained photographs.
      The childrens’ photographs were meant to stand for hope, I believe after all the death and decay she has dealt with.

      1. Yeah, I absolutely LOVE the landscapes she’s done. I was unimpressed with pretty much everything else.

        I thought her explanation for including the children came off as artspeak. Other than being made with collodion, they had nothing to do with the rest of the series.

    1. Hoi Theo!

      Het wetplate gebeuren bevalt me bijzonder goed! Voorlopig houdt dat me wel even zoet.
      Die documentaire is inderdaad uitgezonden bij “Het uur van de wolf” en was echt heel interessant.

      Jouw blog ziet er trouwens ook goed uit! Proficiat met je tentoonstelling! Ik zal proberen te komen kijken want je theaterfotografie is echt heel goed.



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