Sally Mann

Sally Mann is a photographer from Lexington, Virginia. Her work came to international acclaim in the nineties for her series “Immediate Family” that featured her children. Her work is evocative and beautiful. I first came to know her work while watching a PBS series on contemporary artists for a class I was taking.

Every time I see her work, I cry.

And it’s not only because of the beauty of her work, but because she is from home. She lives in Rockbridge County, and when I see her images–which have all been taken in Virginia, most of them on her family farm–I feel the call of that beautiful valley I grew up in.

The landscapes are so familiar to me. The trees, the gentle roll of the hills. The shape of the mountains on the horizon. It is a place that I have left behind.

But only physically. Because when I see the forests of my childhood, the farms, and the animals, I can feel this pull to go back. The desire to be in a land that is a part of who I am, even when I am not present.

I have traveled across the world. I want to travel to more places. To understand people, culture, art, and to live an enriched life. But no matter where I live or travel, I always know that the most special, the loveliest place in the world is one that I have already left behind, and may never truly return to.

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