One of my favorite photographers is Sally Mann (1951). She captures life as is defined by her own direct environment. Originally this resulted in a wonderful and intimate series about her own family life. A number of years later she also started to capture life's darker antagonist, recognizing that life is also defined by its end. She approaches this sensitive subject in a very sincere manner. Still, the imagery dealing with death and decay is too close for comfort for many.
Next to the natural way in which she chooses her subject matter, I also admire her for the way in which she deals with the technical facets of photography. I am astonished by how she seemingly effortless works with the elaborate wet-plate collodion plate processes and antique view cameras. The value of this is probably hard to grasp for the current "digital generation", but in order to realize how much Sally Mann actually shares with her audience one needs to see the final prints and understand how they have been made. It turns her into a very special photographer.
Till September 19 (2010) prints from her series "Immediate Family", "Faces, Deep South" and "What Remains" are shown at The Photographers' Gallery in London.