Among wet plate photographers today, there is perhaps no greater lightning rod for aesthetic and technical debate than Sally Mann. Purists in the medium will tell you that her work is not up to par and is terribly flawed. Others will say that she is a true artist, who willingly sacrifices some technical precision for the sake of her personal expression – what Mann calls “transformative accidents” that occur on the surface of her plates. Although in this video, Mann refers to the work of early wet plate photographers as perfect, I strongly disagree. One need only look at peeling emulsions and comets (black specs due to contaminated chemistry) from plates made in the mid-1800s to assess that accidents have always been part of the process. The collodion medium is fragile and inherently flawed. Sally Mann uses the flaws to her advantage, which tips my hand that I think she is an artist.