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