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Crossing Paths

France Scully Osterman, artist, educator, and lecturer at Scully & Osterman Studio and guest scholar at the George Eastman Museum. Bringing together some 115 photographs from across four decades of the artist’s career, Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings offers both a sweeping overview of her achievement and a focused exploration of the continuing influence of the American South on her work. In the late 1990s, borrowing freely and shamelessly from the past, Mann began to use the same wet collodion process that countless 19th-century photographers had employed to make their negatives.  To learn the ins and outs of this somewhat cumbersome process that dominated photographic practice from the mid-1850s into the 1880s, Mann could not have found better instructors than Mark Osterman, photographic historian at George Eastman Museum, and his wife, photographer France Scully Osterman. On April 21, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, Scully Osterman shares her experience as Mann’s guide to making the “technical and aesthetic leap” to wet-plate collodion. Although she came to appreciate the almost ceremonial aspect of creating a collodion wet plate, Mann realized as she experimented that it was “the flaws I like.” This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.