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Sally Mann & Creating With a Magpie Aesthetic

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Over time we understand our frame of reference


Photographer Sally Mann talked about her process in Art 21 :

If I can be said to have any kind of esthetic, it is a magpie esthetic. I just go around and pick up whatever is around. It’s very spontaneous. I see a dog bone. I bring it in. I take a picture. I like the picture.

And so she ends up with a dog bone show.

Mann believes art is best made without an “overarching reference.” And yet her body of work appears to support an overarching theme that she herself embeds in it. SallyMannArt21-03252013

This is the benefit of keeping at our work: over time we sort out what it was we were supposed to say or create.

But about Mann’s magpie esthetic: I’ve noticed the same. This flow of material constantly sweeping past me and I simply reach down and grab something. For me it is an idea, a snippet of conversation, an observation, a word spoken, even a chord strummed, any of these can be fitted together into some semblance of how I understand life.

How does creating work for you?


Image credit: Sally Mann, PBS

Written by kirkistan

March 25, 2013 at 8:39 am

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