It has been a very stressful couple of weeks. The less said about it the better really. But despite the, by now all too familiar, bad start to the day, something did shift today. The scales started dipping towards the positive.
The highlight of today was by far the completely unplanned time spent with one of my photographic inspirations, Sally Mann. Johanna and I were at the gallery purely to see her exhibition (a treat in itself!) when we found out that the artist herself was in Finland at the moment and would be giving a speech/lecture later on in the day. The session was fully booked but we managed to get our names on a waiting list, in case any spaces became available. And wouldn’t you believe it, we got in! Not only that, but we got to sit in the front row, only a half a meter away from Sally. Of course, since I was completely unprepared for such a treat, I didn’t have a camera of any description with me. Not even my ‘better’ mobile phone. So these craptastic shots from my rickety old mobile are all the pictures I got of her.
But that’s OK as I’ll probably remember the event for the rest of my life whether I have pictures of it or not. Even though Sally did say that since memory – be it personal or collective – is never reliable, it’s the artist’s job to document what is important.
Sally was a tiny little thing (for some reason I always thought she was very tall!) and yet her presence was undeniable. She was insightful, opinionated and inspiring, and yet somehow also very human. Through slides and stories she took us on a journey into her work and explained to us how and why it has evolved over the last 30-some years into what it is today.
The whole thing went on for about an hour and a half, with the last 20 minutes dedicated to Sally answering people’s questions. At the end of the session I got my copy of Immediate Family signed by her – I’m sure I will cherish this copy forever!