Arts & Culture

Sally Mann’s Southern Vision

Exploring the gradients of gray that exist between black and white, shadow and light, Sally Mann crafts photographs that appear both ethereal and weighty. Each image offers depths to plumb: her technical skill and artistic instinct, her subjects and their stories, and the role that her home in Virginia plays in her approach. The 125-plus photographs that compose her new exhibition, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings, which opened this March at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., focus on her relationship with the South. (An accompanying book by the same name is also out March 2018.) In the collection, Mann captured an historic African American church, built in the late nineteenth century on a country lane outside of Newport, Virginia, using a large-format camera, and printed it on expired gelatin silver paper. “Every so often, the remaining parishioners paint the front and road-facing side in an effort to keep up appearances,” Mann says, “while the back, less visible from the road, remains unpainted and has begun to deteriorate. Something about its plucky resilience touches me.”

Click through the slideshow to preview more images from the exhibition.

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Oak Hill Baptist 01:01, 2008-2016

photo: Collection of the artist Image © Sally Mann

Deep South, Untitled, (Scarred Tree), 1998

photo: National Gallery of Art, Washington, Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund Image © Sally Mann

Battlefields, Cold Harbor (Battle), 2003

photo: National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee and The Sarah and William L Walton Fund Image © Sally Mann

Ponder Heart, 2009

photo: National Gallery of Art, Washington, Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund Image © Sally Mann

Deep South, Untitled (Three Drips), 1998

photo: National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee and The Sarah and William L Walton Fund Image © Sally Mann