Sunday, March 25, 2012

Immediate Family : Sally Mann at SPE SF

In a hotel room on Sutter Street, a few blocks from the Hyatt, a young photographer and graphic design duo fabricate a fake pass to the SPE conference. The pass has my name on it. I can now go anywhere.

I gain entry and cross paths with  strangers who feel like immediate family: Emma Kisiel, Daniel Evan Garza, Nate Larson, Richard Kelly, Sandra Lee Phipps, Forest McMullin...and more people, just little time.

There at the bar, curiously enough, is the braintrust of Duncan Channon Advertising. What are they doing here? All the guys I photographed in a fight HERE are there. For a moment I'm confused by these worlds intersecting. 7:00pm, we gather to hear Sally Mann speak. The mother of all mother photographers, here, and everyone acknowledges her contribution. Enthusiasm is high as the masses fill the ballroom.

She is introduced, she speaks. Photographs dot the lecture, a reading from a memoir she is writing, with a series grouped at the end. Last slide, thank you, the lights go up. No questions, no answers.

Why would she not want to hear from the masses? They adore her. She has no enemies. This is the shape the lecture had taken. We accept it. We exit.


Suzanne Révy said...

I expect she's answered so many questions over the years about her work, especially the Immediate Family pictures, that she's bored talking about, and answering all the same questions again.

Timothy Archibald said...

Hi Suzanne-
I think you may very well be correct. Hard to have a project that influenced so many people over and a hard thing to live up to and have your new work be considered valid as well. My guess is she has done these things enough to know what worked for her, and this is what did.
My expectations were for something else, but they were based on what?
Just interesting discourse really. Thanks for chiming in.

Allan Barnes said...

We were treated to her reading to us, which I think evokes memories of our earliest moments of education...She is a masterful writer, and as she read, I fully expected her to announce that her new work was going to be written; that she was giving up photography for writing. The photographs that she showed at the end then, were a surprise ending.
She explained everything adequately, I think, and no explanations were needed, even if we as educators like to ask questions.