…I struggle with enormous discrepancies: between the reality of motherhood and the image of it, between my love for my home and the need to travel, between the varied and seductive paths of the heart. The lessons of impermanance, the occasional despair and the muse, so tenuously moored, all visit their needs upon me and I dig deeply for the spiritual utilities that restore me: my love for the place, for the one man left, for my children and friends and the great green pulse of spring. – Sally Mann

This past week, I took my LOTR extended version DVDs over to Felix’s house. We did a LOTR Marathon which is just over 12 hours of hobbit-watching. (Faerie, I’ll be giving you a call to do the same thing with you and the girls later. We’ll need lots of pizza!). Anyway, between movies, Felix mentioned a Sally Mann DVD after discussing my Edward Weston Eloquent Nude DVD which I had loaned him previously. I just watched the Sally Mann DVD yesterday and it was really good. I’ve followed her and her photography for some time now, but I had not known that there was a HBO documentary done on her until Felix told me about it, entitled “What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann“. We went right over to the library and rented the it. It was splendid. It began, of course, with the telling of how she came to do her controversial Immediate Family body of work, which dealt with the nude images of her children. She discusses the aftermath of this published work and its affect on her family. It culminates into her latest body of work (pun intended), which was just as controversial, in which she photographs human bodies in various states of decomposition. This was made achievable from her visit to a body farm at the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Facility which studies how bodies decompose by placing donated corpses out in the open outdoors and various other methods of exposure. This is her attempt to explore death and the process of decay. It begins with her dealings with the death of a family pet, but is really pushed to a new direction when an escaped prisoner kills himself during a shootout with authorities on the property of her farm. I’m wondering if she’s trying to come to terms with her father’s death as well as watching the muscular decay of her husband who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy.

She also discusses events in her life and how her family deals with her photography. I can recall a discussion on the point in a photo class where someone objecting to her “forcing” her kids to pose nude, maintained that these would be troubled kids who would grow up into scarred adults. Well, those photos were taken 16 years ago and those kids have grown up well adjusted and strong contributors to society. They discuss the point themselves. You should hear their commentary on the matter. Jesse, one of Sally’s, daughters is a prolific model to this day with her own web site at JessieMann.com. I can say that, as a photographer myself, I love the fact that she has done what she’s felt she’s needed to do for the sake of her art. I respect the fact that she’s been able to follow her love with close family ties. She’s been married to the same man of close to 40 years. Her children love, adore, and defend her (as if she really needs defending). At one point in the DVD, I adore where she discusses how she and her husband spend hours at a time most every day simply looking out of the window of their spacious country farmhouse. Now that I think about it, if you’ve read my blogs over this past year, you’ve heard me repeat the fact that I love photographers who spend a lot of time photographing their spouses. Well, I’ve never seen a female photographer who photographed her husband until Sally Mann. Her latest series of work is just that. Three beautiful kids, a husband who loves her and supports her, a beautiful home, and a career doing ONLY what she loves to do… How can you not envy this woman? Get the DVD. If you can’t find it at your local library, get it on Amazon. There are many articles on Sally Mann. Here is one I found interesting from the arts and culture section of the Smithsonian.com.

Segue…speaking of another interesting woman, let me also introduce you to model, Rebecca Lawrence. For whatever reason, I am just now discovering this wonderful girl as I came across her Model Mayhem profile just the other night. That lead me to her OMP site and most notably, her blog. I like models who blog! Hello, Iris! You can also check out her goings-on by visiting her Twitter profile. Rebecca maintains a large body of work on her profiles. Granted, she’s beautiful…that goes without saying, but let me cover what I else I like about her. First, her large portfolio shows her dedication to her craft and her openness to a myriad of concepts. That says much about her versatility. I am certain she’s been able to lend a collaborative hand at developing these concepts, thus helping to make a good project better. Next, I like the fact that she makes use of several different outlets to keep her fan base informed and they are ALL maintained! The girl is doing what it takes to make it as a professional model. Oh, and speaking as a former art model, I also love the fact that she’s a figure model for drawing and painting, which is damn hard work, for those of you who have never experienced it. Overall, you just get a good feeling about the kind of person she is by reading what she writes and viewing work she does. I like the girl and I am sure you will too when you check her out.

With the first full year of blogging under my belt, I’d like to think that I’ve done a fairly decent job. I’ve been largely consistent at posting. I’ve posted at least 3 images of models with virtually every post, and I’ve also tried various forms of additional stimulating content. I think 2009 will be an adventure into unknown territory, but my photography and this blog with sustain. Its my endeavor to continue to deliver. I love my photo work and I love blogging. As challenging as it may be at times, its still a fun thing to do.

I want to finish this post with one of the last models I photographed this year. Folks this is Erica. For a first time project, we shot several images that consisted of portraiture and of shots that emphasized her self-proclaimed best asset, her backside. This was a fun project, albeit challenging at times. I am hopeful that we’ll be able to continue to do more work in the coming year. For now, as 2008 comes to a close, I would just like to say that I have been honored that you have taken the time from your busy schedules to follow what I’ve written. My subscribers have doubled and new viewers are popping up ever day. Return readers are visiting even more often, now. If you have suggestions, please let me know. I am always open to your contributions. I’ll be back with new models as well as new images of models you’ve already met. I should also be introducing my first series of maternity work fairly soon. Its going to be fun, ya’ll!

Come on back! Ya’ hear!
Thanks for being so wonderful,