Hold still A memoir with photographs

Sally Mann, 1951-

Book - 2015

A memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2015.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xiv, 482 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (page 478).
ISBN
9780316247764
0316247766
Main Author
Sally Mann, 1951- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Photographer Mann's book, Immediate Family (1992), aroused immediate outrage over its nude photographs of her three beloved children at their secluded Virginia farm. In spite of the controversy, Mann has never compromised her intrepid visual curiosity or forensic lyricism, and now, in this zestful, lushly textured, candid, and jolting family memoir, she reveals the deep wellsprings of her most poetic and disconcerting images. Writing was Mann's first creative calling, and her prose has the same firepower as the many photographs that illustrate this searching, witty, and gothic inquiry into family, place, and art. Mann confesses her aversion to wearing clothes as a "near-feral child," and her lifelong love for the land on which she and her husband have lived for more than 40 years. She also shares, for the first time, the dark side of her notoriety, as well as the daring adventures behind more recent photographic series. Here, too, are staggering family secrets, including her in-laws' deceptive lives and violent deaths, her Mayflower-blue-blood mother's scandalously unconventional childhood, and her self-sacrificing country-doctor father's complicated legacy of slave ownership, wealth, and philanthropy. Mann also scrutinizes her relationship with Gee-Gee, the African American woman who ran their household for 50 years. A boldly alive, bracingly honest, thoroughly engrossing, sun-dappled, and deeply shadowed tale of inheritance and defiance, creativity and remembrance by an audacious and tenacious American photographer. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Here photographer Mann chronicles her rich and eccentric family history, told through the exploration of old documents and images stored away in her attic. What started out as a series of lectures for Harvard University ended up as a personal, 400-plus-page memoir that recounts tales of "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land…and maybe even bloody murder." Raw and darkly humorous, Mann's writing is consistently honest and poignant as she depicts her beloved Virginia farm, her childhood, her parents, and her children. She further discusses how her passion for photography evolved, thus offering an intimate look into the artist's life and creative process. Illustrated throughout with personal and vintage photographs, the book also provides an in-depth discussion of Mann's now-infamous body of work Immediate Family, the provocative series featuring her three young children that cemented her place as a major artist. VERDICT This title is for anyone interested in the career and experience of one of the 20th century's most important figures. [See Prepub Alert, 11/10/14.]—Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA [Page 94]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Photographer Mann's sensuous and searching memoir finds her pulling out family records from the attic, raising questions about the unexamined past and how photographs "rob all of us of our memory," and calling upon ancestry to explain the mysteries of her own character. Rockbridge County, Va., a place of great beauty, is the site of Mann's uncontained childhood; her wedding to her lifelong companion, Larry Mann; and the idyllic family farm, where she took the photographs collected in Immediate Family (1992). Those photos of her three young children in the nude, and the controversy that erupted around them, "changed all our lives in ways we never could have predicted, in ways that affect us still," she says, firmly stressing that photography is mere artifice, that the images "are not my children." The pictures and fallout attracted a fanatic stalker, who kept the Mann family on edge for years. (Indeed, this memoir periodically reads like a crime thriller.) Mann's power at evoking the raw fear that comes with being a parent is uncanny, and she is equally insightful when discussing her own childhood. Her book is also a catalogue of material objects—letters, test grades, teacher reports, even a letter of complaint from the superintendent of schools regarding 16-year-old Mann's wild driving. The vivid descriptive energy and arresting images in this impressive book will leave readers breathless. Illus. (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Most teens won't expect to read about a bizarre murder-suicide when first picking up this memoir. And yet there it is, part of a central narrative that tangles family, art, racism, mortality, and a beloved Southern landscape. The work is told through a masterful combination of Mann's words and photographs, both startlingly raw and lovely. Mann lived much of her life in the seclusion of rural family property; her three children enjoyed a rare freedom from clothing as they swam and played in privacy. Mann's photographs of the children in their naked and fierce beauty, included in this volume, were published in her book, Immediate Family (Aperture, 2005). Controversy followed. Mann eloquently describes this time period, depicting the timeless anguish of an artist whose expression defies society's mores. Young photographers will be fascinated by the author's frank obsession with capturing the perfect image. Her writing, beautifully enhanced by an eclectic array of borrowed quotes, works in remarkable tandem with her images. Teens who enjoy the intersection of words and images as expressed in graphic novels should appreciate this unique work. VERDICT For young adults considering a future in the arts, Mann's memoir is a visceral experience of that life's risks and triumphs.—Diane Colson, Nashville Public Library [Page 116]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A renowned photographer tells her family's history in photos and words, after sorting through a box of old papers that revealed scandals, alcohol and domestic abuse, affairs, family land ownership, large amounts of money earned and lost and racial complications. 75,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The author tells her family's history in photographs and words, after sorting through a box of old papers that revealed scandals, alcohol and domestic abuse, affairs, family land ownership, and racial complications.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

This National Book Award finalist is a revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann. In this groundbreaking book, 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, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her. Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land . . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder." In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.