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APASally Mann Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=like-all-photographers-i-depend-on-serendipity-i-pray-for-what-might-be-referred-to-as-angel-chance-sally-mann
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There's always a time in any series of work where you get to a certain point and your work is going steadily and each picture is better than the next, and then you sort of level off and that's when you realize that it's not that each picture is better then the next, it's that each picture up's the ante. And that every time you take one good picture, the next one has got to be better.
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I tend to agree with the theory that if you want to keep a memory pristine, you must not call upon it too often, for each time it is revisited, you alter it irrevocably, remembering not the original impression left by experience but the last time you recalled it. With tiny differences creeping in at each cycle, the exercise of our memory does not bring us closer to the past but draws us further away.
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Every time it's the same. It's easy to prove to myself that good pictures are elusive, but I can never quite believe they're also inevitable. It would be a lot easier for me to believe they were if I also believed that they came as a result of my obvious talent, that I was extraordinary in some way. Artists go out of their way to reinforce the perception that good art is made by singular people, people with an exceptional gift. But I don't believe I am that exceptional, so what is this that I'm making?
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The fact is that these are not my children; they are figures on silvery paper slivered out of time. They represent my children at a fraction of a second on one particular afternoon with infinite variables of light, expression, posture, muscle tension, mood, wind and shade. These are not my children at all; these are children in a photograph.
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There is something about this process, and about the whole 8 x 10 [camera] business, that takes it out of the arena of the snapshot, even though, of course, I'm always desperate for that feeling. I wanted those family pictures to look effortless. I wanted them to look like snapshots. And some of them did.
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Some of my pictures are poem-like in the sense that they are very condensed, haiku-lik. There are others that, if they were poetry, would be more like Ezra Pound. There is a lot of information in most of my pictures, but not the kind of information you see in documentary photography. There is emotional information in my photographs.
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If I could be said to have any kind of aesthetic, it's sort of a magpie aesthetic""I just go and pick up whatever is around. If you think about it, the children were there, so I took pictures of my children. It's not that I'm interested in children that much or photographing them""it's just that they were there...
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Like all photographers, I depend on serendipity, and when you're photographing children there's often an abundance of it. I would have an idea of what a photograph would look like and then something would happen - a dog might lumber in and become a critical element. I pray for what might be referred to as the angel of chance.
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As ephemeral as our footprints were in the sand along the river, so also were those moments of childhood caught in the photographs. And so will be our family itself, our marriage, the children who enriched it and the love that has carried us through so much. All this will be gone. What we hope will remain are these pictures, telling our brief story.
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I can think of numberless males, from Bonnard to Callahan, who have photographed their lovers and spouses, but I am having trouble finding parallel examples among my sister photographers. The act of looking appraisingly at a man, making eye contact on the street, asking to photograph him, studying his body, has always been a brazen venture for a woman, though, for a man, these acts are commonplace, even expected.
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