History of Our World

What Remains | Sally Mann

Posted in Art, Photography, Print by R on April 14, 2010

Untitled (Matter Lent)

All things summon us to death;
Nature, almost envious of the good she has given us,
Tell us often and gives us notice that she cannot
For long allow us that scrap of matter she has lent…
She has need of it for other forms,
She claims it back for other works.

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704), “On Death, a Sermon”

Untitled (Matter Lent)

Untitled (Matter Lent)

Untitled (Matter Lent)

Untitled (Matter Lent)

Untitled (Matter Lent)

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…He must have ditched the shotgun because by the time he approached the house he only had the pistols. Ducking behind a tree, he put one of them to his head. His shot was tinnily distinguishable from the rifle shots of the police who had appeared at the last moment. He fell among the stumps and bracken, just a kid after all, my son’s age, bled out in the milky winter light.

Untitled (December 8, 2000)

Untitled (December 8, 2000)

Untitled (December 8, 2000)

Untitled (December 8, 2000)

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Pensive on her dead gazing I heard the Mother of All,
Desperate on the torn bodies, on the forms covering the battlefields gazing,
(As the last gun ceased, but the scent of the powder-smoke linger’d,)
As she call’d to her earth with mournful voice while she stalk’d,
Absorb the well O my earth, she cried, I charge you lose not my sons,
lose not an atom

And you streams absorb them well, taking their dear blood,
And you local spots, and you airs that swim above lightly impalpable,
And all you essences of soil and growth, and you my rivers’ depths,
And you mountain sides, and the woods where my dear children’s blood
trickling redden’d

Untitled (Antietam)

And you trees down in your roots to bequeath to all future trees,
My dead absorb or South or North – my young men’s bodies absorb,
and their precious blood,
Which holding in trust for me faithfully back again give me many a year hence,
In unseen essence and odor of surface and grass, centuries hence,
In blowing airs from the fields back again give me my darlings,
give my immortal heroes,
Exhale me them centuries hence, breathe me their breath, let not an atom be lost,
O years and graves! O air and soil! O my dead, an aroma sweet!
Exhale them perennial sweet death, years, centuries hence.

Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass

Untitled (Antietam)

Untitled (Antietam)

Untitled (Antietam)

Untitled (Antietam)

Untitled (Antietam)

When the land subsumes the dead, they become the rich body of the earth, the dark matter of creation. As I walk the fields of this farm, beneath my feet shift the bones of incalculable bodies; death is the sculptor of the ravishing landscape, the terrible mother, the damp creator of life, by whom we are one day devoured.

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What Remains

Sally Mann

Bulfinch Press

2003

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Sally Mann

Robert Koch

Bulfinch Press

R

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