© Annie Leibovitz
Sally Mann kept taking pictures after her first workshop and the transformative, moonlit night in the grasslands of Yosemite that she describes in the book. Looking back, she has realized that much of her work over the subsequent decades has the same look of the long-ago pictures she took there. After a career of fits and starts, successes and failures, a dozen or so publications, of writing Hold Still (pub.2015) and the international tour of A Thousand Crossings (2017-19), now in 2021 she is faced with figuring out the last acts. It has become obvious to her that each of us takes the pictures we are destined to take, in all their manifold variations, just as Elizabeth Strout observed: "We all only have one story…you’ll tell your one story in many different ways”. And so it is that she has begun circling back to the Leica M3 with which she began the journey, finding the latter especially freeing after decades of 8x10 work. But she will never give up the old, taped-together Deardorff and still man-hauls it into the car, driving the country roads at gloaming, looking and shooting.