What else is there to see in a photograph that’s been talked about so endlessly you can picture it in your mind? This week, a month after the release of Sally Mann’s extraordinary artist’s memoir, Hold Still, and 23 years after the initial publication of Immediate Family, arrives an expanded, paper edition of the book that catapulted her career into the realm of critically lauded and publicly debated celebrity.
For the full article, please visit Vogue
Photographer Sally Mann has built her career capturing the intimate details of the bodies, landscapes and objects that surround her. Her subjects have included her young children depicted as wild things ("Immediate Family"), landscapes of her beloved Virginia ("Deep South") and vivid, raw images of her own body and that of her husband's ("Proud Flesh"). Her excellent memoir, "Hold Still," a careful, detailed literary and visual portrait of the photographer's early influences and experiences, begins with Mann opening what she calls "ancestral boxes" filled with old photographs. She notes that rummaging through old photos, deciding which to keep and which to trash, is a delicate and emotional enterprise fraught with the misguided belief that visual representations of ourselves offer clues to who we are.
For the full review, please visit The LA Times
The photographer Sally Mann describes her pictures as “silver poems of tone and undertow,” and they have always seemed designed to stop the passage of things that can barely be slowed: youth, memory, seasons, light, even decay. When she began her first attempt at a piece of sustained writing, “Hold Still,” her memoir published this week by Little Brown, she said she realized with great relief that she had followed the same impulse in her nonphotographic life, letting nary a scrap of paper escape her archival clutches.
“I don’t know what the instinct is, to save every report card, every half-sentence scribbled note, but my mother did it pretty effectively, and I’ve done it to a fare-thee-well,” she said, adding, “My poor kids.”
For the full review, please visit The New York Times
Before reading “Hold Still,” my knowledge of Sally Mann was based entirely on her photographs of her family on their Virginia farm, her dreamlike Southern landscapes, and some memory of the controversies that have surrounded the question of whether her intimate portraits of her children, often nude, were exploitative. I’d assumed she was continuing to make new work and enjoying placid rural domesticity periodically interrupted by brief but abrasive trials in the court of public opinion.
Now her wonderfully weird and vivid memoir — generously illustrated with family snapshots, her own and other people’s photos, documents and letters — describes a life more dramatic than I had imagined. Perhaps that should be unsurprising, given how deeply her psyche and her oeuvre seem to have been marked by the South, its live oaks dripping Spanish moss, its terrible record on race and its multigenerational dynasties hiding gothic Faulknerian secrets.
For the full reveiw, please visit The New York Times
There aren’t many important memoirs by American photographers. I wish especially that, along with Robert Frank and Diane Arbus, Walker Evans had left one behind. How good was Evans’s prose? He once described James Agee’s sartorial style as “knowingly comical inverted dandyism.” He added: “wind, rain, work and mockery were his tailors.”
I held Evans’s writing in mind while reading “Hold Still,” the photographer Sally Mann’s weird, intense and uncommonly beautiful new memoir. Ms. Mann has got Evans’s gift for fine and offbeat declaration. She’s also led a big Southern-bohemian life, rich with incident. Or maybe it only seems rich with incident because of an old maxim that still holds: Stories happen only to people who can tell them.
For the full review, please visit The New York Times
There are few real taboos left in America society. Over the years Hollywood has managed to turn prostitution, cannibalism, Satanic workship and even incest into popular entertainment. And yet, there are still things that make s deeply uncomfortable. One f them is childhood sexuality; another is recognition of the physical reality of death.
To read full article click download
The photographs in the "Last measure" series are of Civil War battlegrounds: landscapes that seem in Mann's depictions, to be haunted by the violent deaths there. Mann has been working on this quintessentially American subject for three years now; it forms one part of a larger project entitled "What remains", a vast series on the nature of mortality.
To read more click download
Sally Mann’s rich and varied career as a photographer has seen her focus on architecture, landscape and still life, but she is known above all for her intimate portraits of her family, and in particular her young children. Her work has attracted controversy at times, but it has always been influential, and since her the time of her first solo exhibition, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., in 1977, she has attracted a wide audience.
Sally Mann explored various genres as she was maturing in the 1970s: she produced landscapes and architectural photography, and she blended still life with elements of portraiture. But she truly found her metier with her second publication, a study of girlhood entitled At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women (1988). And, between 1984 and 1991, she worked on what is undoubtedly her most famous series, Immediate Family (1992), which focuses on her three children, who were then all aged under ten. Whilst the series touches on ordinary moments in their daily lives – playing, sleeping, eating – it also speaks to larger themes such as sexuality and death.
Mann has always remained close to her roots, and she has photographed the American South for many years, producing two major series, Deep South (Bullfinch Press, 2005) and Mother Land. In What Remains (Bullfinch Press, 2003), she assembled a five-part study of mortality, one which ranges from pictures of the decomposing body of her beloved pet greyhound, to the site where an armed fugitive committed suicide on her property in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. She has often experimented with color photography, but she has remained most interested in photography’s antique technology. She has long used an 8x10 bellows camera, and has explored platinum and bromoil printing processes. In the mid 1990s she began using the wet collodion process to produce pictures which almost seem like hybrids of photography, painting, and sculpture.
Sally Mann lives and works in Lexington, Virginia. A Guggenheim fellow, and a three-times recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Mann was named “America’s Best Photographer” by Time magazine in 2001. She has been the subject of two documentaries: Blood Ties (1994), which was nominated for an Academy Award, and What Remains (2007). She has been the subject of major exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.. Her photographs can be found in many public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.