For more than forty years, Sally Mann (b. 1951, Lexington, Virginia) has made experimental, elegiac, and hauntingly beautiful photographs that span a broad body of work including portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings explores how her relationship with the South has shaped her work. Some 125 photographs, many of which have not been exhibited or published previously, offer both a sweeping overview of Mann’s artistic achievement and a focused exploration on the continuing influence of the South on her work. Mann’s powerful and provocative work is organized into five sections: family, landscape, battlefields, legacy, and mortality. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays that explore the development of Mann’s art; her family photographs; contemporary representations of the black body; the landscape as repository of cultural and personal memory; and Mann’s debt to 19th-century photographers and techniques.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, Mann's memoir, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, by Sally Mann, is a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, soaked in Southern history and heritage. In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs,Mann takes us through her childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains and her life as a mother, wife, and photographer with finely-crafted insight and honest revelation.