Once on a school field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art, I saw an eery photograph of a young girl that I couldn't get out of my head. Without the title or the name of the photographer, it took another chance encounter years later for me to discover that it was Sally Mann. I can't think of a better way to describe Mann's work than to say that each of her images is powerful enough to haunt you for years. In Hold Still, Mann begins with the idea of a "meuse": the nest-like imprint created when an animal beds down in long grass. With dramatic family history, a deep connection with her Southern heritage, and, of course, photographs, Mann explores the imprint that has both influenced and been created around her life as an artist and human. Reading this memoir is like listening to a wild relative recount all of the stories of her amazing life, only that relative also happens to be one of America's most renowned (and controversial!) photographers. I loved every page of it. - K
“Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Mann's no-holds-barred memoir is absolutely stunning in its honesty. If you thought her photography was provocative and shocking, you are in for quite a ride with her life story. Filled with a multitude of fascinating characters and enhanced with a wealth of photographs, Hold Still promises to be a major sensation. Hold on to your hat - this is a page-turner!”
— Pamela Kinger-Horn (E), Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEARThe New York Times, Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Vogue, NPR, Publishers Weekly, BookPage 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.
About the Author
Sally Mann (born in Lexington, Virginia, 1951) is one of America's most renowned photographers. She has received numerous awards, including NEA, NEH, and Guggenheim Foundation grants, and her work is held by major institutions internationally. Her many books include What Remains (2003), Deep South (2005), and the Aperture titles At Twelve (1988), Immediate Family (1992), Still Time (1994), Proud Flesh (2009), and The Flesh and the Spirit (2010). A feature film about her work, What Remains, debuted to critical acclaim in 2006. Mann is represented by Gagosian Gallery, New York. She lives in Virginia.
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