Eva series, three silver gelatin prints from collodian glass negatives, 10 x 8 inches each, Sally Mann.        

Eva Series
Sally Mann, best known for her large-format photographs of her family, has recently been working on a collodian series based on the death of her greyhound Eva. One day,
Eva died instantly of a heart attack while running. Unable to bear the thought of burying the dog, Sally Mann and her husband Larry still wanted to do something to memorialize Eva. They therefore had the greyhound skinned and set the remains above ground in an area protected from animals. After a year, Mann discovered that the bones made a strange and beautiful study, as she comments, "The decision to photograph them in wet plate came naturally. There was no other way to do it. I mean, I walked into my studio with a bag of bones and dirt, emptied it on to the floor, and started pouring a [glass] plate." For Sally Mann, this series is the perfect marriage of subject and technique. The ragged edges of the collodian images appear to be torn from the progression of time, whereas ordinary film would perhaps have been too slick to capture the state of decomposition.

Although Mann calls the wet collodian process cranky, she finds it especially satisfying because the glass plate is processed on the spot, and the revelations upon seeing the image are nearly instantaneous. The flaws that result from hand-coating the collodian emulsion on each piece of glass - streaks, drips, uneven surfaces and edges - are an important part of her aesthetic. Indeed not a slave to technique, many of Mann's pictures are wrong from a conventional point of view. For example, she shoots into the sun and regularly under or overexposes her images. "When I shoot collodian, I embrace the accidents, the serendipity of the process ...Mistakes are not the end of the world, and perfection is not my goal."