Sally Mann

 
 
 
 
Sally Mann is a photographer whose work has consistently challenged conventional notions of subject and technique. Her broadest fame derives from the somewhat controversial photographs of her children published in Immediate family (1992). The themes of that work, childhood and coming-of-age, had also been explored in, respectively, the "Dream Sequence" (1971) and At twelve: Portraits of young women (1988). But other portfolios, such as her "Landscapes" (1972-73), the Lewis Law Portfolio (1977), a series of "Platinum Prints" (1978-80), and her 1997 "Georgia" and Virginia" series, demonstrate a range of subject matter that belies any attempt to limit Mann to domestic subjects or a topic such as puberty. Instead the distinguishing characteristic of her work is the manner in which developments in technique (coupled with great openness on technical matters such as choice of equipment and processes) takes place in conjunction with her exploration of successive subjects. A chronological investigation of Mann's work will demonstrate how the intimate connection between method and subject in her photographs has produced some of the strongest and most beautiful pictures of the last quarter-century.

Mann's work lends itself to being studied in terms of portfolios because ideas about pictures are clearly and consistently worked out within each group of photographs. Mann's stylistic development is always accompanied by and intrinsic to her changes of subject. The classic composit

     
 
 
 
    

 

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