Sally Mann Malena DePaolis


Sally Mann was born in Lexington, Virginia in 1951 and is one of America's most renowned photographers. Her many books include at twelve, immediate family, still time, what remains, deep south, proud flesh, etc. In 2001 Mann was named “America’s Best Photographer” by Time magazine. A 1994 documentary about her work, Blood Ties, was nominated for an Academy Award and the 2006 feature film What Remains was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2008. Her bestselling memoir, Hold Still (Little, Brown, 2015), received universal critical acclaim, and was named a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2016 Hold Still won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. Mann is represented by Gagosian Gallery, New York. She lives in Virginia.

“Few photographers of any time or place have matched Sally Mann’s steadiness of simple eyesight, her serene technical brilliance, and the clearly communicated eloquence she derives from her subjects, human and otherwise – subjects observed with an ardor that is all but indistinguishable from love.” — Reynolds Price, TIME

Mann's Technique

The work-ethic of Sally Mann, whose intricate photographic techniques record the historical scars and romanticism of the South, is as she takes photos both in her studio and outdoors. The farm where Mann lives and works becomes a meaningful backdrop as her inspired process of capturing it on film is revealed.

Sally's artwork

Photographer Sally Mann is fascinated by bodies. After those photos, Mann moved on to what she describes in her new book, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, as "deeply personal explorations of the landscape of the American South, the nature of mortality (and the mortality of nature), intimate depictions of my husband and the indelible marks that slavery left on the world surrounding me." Mann's work has included a series of photos of decomposing bodies in a University of Tennessee forensic anthropology research facility and photos of her husband, whose muscles are withering from muscular dystrophy.

Mann uses her children as motivation for her fascination of the human body. She never wanted to do photos of her nude children they just always were in the summer when she would take her pictures. She was motivated by their summer house where there was no one around for miles. Most of her photos were black and white to capture the idea of a memory. "Using photographs as an instrument of memory is probably a mistake because I think that photographs actually sort of impoverish your memory in certain ways, sort of take away all the other senses — the sense of smell and taste and texture, that kind of stuff."

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