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Thread: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

  1. #1

    anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    This is old stuff because the documentary about Sally Mann, What Remains, has been mentioned here before. Mostly about how and when to view it. However, we really haven’t analyzed its many contributions to our ongoing conversations about so many of our themes. First of all it is a wonderful catalog of some beautiful equipment and tools. There are clear images of at least three different large format cameras with a variety of old lenses. The tripods and how they are used are equally interesting. I was intrigued by how easily and comfortably she was able to handle some of her very light weight combinations. Her dark cloth collection is neat, if unusually stained. I was even fascinated by her stained plastic chemical bottles which actually resembled somethings in my own darkroom. The show even showed her flipping through boxes of old prints. In this setting her prints lost their artistic, silvery veneer and more closely resembled just old gray pictures. More important than the equipment and the artifacts was how she used them. At one point she had her beautiful children recline directly underneath a 25 pound camera and lens which was pointed straight down only inches from their faces. Three minute exposures were necessary. This odd pose purposely resulted in portraits resembling 19th century death masks. As interesting, was how she flipped her homemade cardboard shutter up and down for her own self portrait. The use of bacon fat and her other attempts at directing her sitters and their hair were very telling. Several of her collodion techniques are shown as are some representations of her burning and dodging techniques. Her arm curves and waves as if there are no bones. The film shows how her technique is inherently collaborative. She listens carefully and sometimes adopts the suggestions of her models. One of her most basic techniques is working hard at getting work done. But the film’s most profound moments were her revelations about her creativity, her drive and her expectations about what remains. In places she talks directly about what her goals are and the sources of inspiration of some of her prints. She is brave enough to allow a camera to capture her anguish about being denied an important show at the Pace Gallery, to show her own very profound doubts about her own skills and place in the art world.
    This beautiful movie shows her equipment, her technique and her artistic heart. In other words this movie shows “America’s best photographer” to be one of us and we to be much like her. We also struggle with equipment and technique. We also struggle with our own muses, goals, messages, shortcomings and disappointments. Just like us, she wonders if she measures up, if her images truly communicate what she thinks. Everyone participating in this forum will understand much of what she does in this movie, but all of us will learn something from it as well. From the smallest detail to the grandest themes it is a revelation. I want to sincerely thank Ms. Mann for showing us so much of herself and her art. Given the true drama of her real life it took great courage for her to do so. And by doing so she represented the skills and techniques, the visions and beauties of large format photographers everywhere. I salute her and deeply thank her.

  2. #2

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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    Is there some way for those of us who are overseas to access this movie?

  3. #3

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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    There used to be a link to a Russian website that aired the entire video. Here is a link to purchase the video from Amazon.

  4. #4

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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    Thanks for that Amazon link. I see that I can also buy the (American) DVD from Amazon UK. The trouble is of course that it is NTSC, so I need to rip it on my computer and reencode it in PAL, to watch it on my big screen. Annoying, but better than not having it at all.

  5. #5

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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    It's got to be on the web somewhere -- it's been less than a month since I watched it again.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  6. #6
    Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    Here's 4 minutes of it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khn5GN9cHWA

    This is a good part IMO, embracing uncertainty and imperfection.

    ....Mike

  7. #7

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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    Yup, youtube has 2x 4 minutes of it, one part start in a field where a civil war battle took place, the one one is in a place where they leave corpses to study their decay (brrr). I would love to see the whole thing though. I wish there was a PAL version of the DVD, but I guess I can do an NTSC conversion.

  8. #8
    Claudio Santambrogio
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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    Search for it on video.yandex.ru, there'll be several hits - pick the one that lasts long enough to be the whole movie

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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

    Found it, thanks.

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    Re: anaylsis of Mann's "What Remains" documentary

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