ART:21: Could you talk about the dog bone prints?
MANN: If I could be said to have any kind of aesthetic, it’s sort of a magpie aesthetic—I just go and I pick up whatever is around. If you think about it, the children were there, so I took pictures of my children. It’s not that I’m interested in children that much or photographing them—it’s just that they were there, and it’s the same with dog bones. I just had dozens of dog bones all over my living room floor, so I photographed them. In fact, I was sort of looking at those dowels over there and thinking, “You know, I bet I could make a good picture out of that pile of dowels.” It’s just this sort of little magpie thing—that something will catch my eye and I’ll go for it. They don’t have any real meaning; it’s just that they have an allure somehow. The texture and all that stuff that catches your eye, I guess. That leads us into a segue for something we probably don’t need to get into now, but there’s something about the way I approach photography which is very spontaneous. I mean, I see a dog bone, I bring it in, I take a picture, I like the picture, I’ll show you the first picture I took. I thought “Hey, that’s a pretty good picture.” So then I go collect all the other dog bones and I bring them in and I take a few more pictures and then I put them on the wall. And then, before long, the gallery says, “Well, let’s do a show of dog bones.” So we do a show of dog bones, and then some cynical postmodern critic will come along and say, “Oh my god, look at the show of dog bones; what do you suppose it means?” And it means that I want to see what dog bones look like photographed.
I really like that as a lucid description of process 😀