Sally Mann American, 1951-
Explorations of childhood, adolescence, and puberty characterize the imagery of Sally Mann (born Sally Munger), who first came to public attention for her series on pre-teenage girls, published in 1988 as At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women. Since 1984 her images have focused on family scenes centered around her three children, Emmet, Jessie, and Virginia. Working in black and white with a large-format view camera, Mann is both documentarian and storyteller, chronicling her children's physical and emotional maturity as she photographs their everyday mishaps and playtime adventures. The children often appear nude, without modesty, and the candor of her subjects has sparked controversy over the photographs as part of the public domain and over issues of childhood sexuality and freedom. It has also raised debates about Mann herself, as she moves between roles as artist and mother.
Mann studied English and creative writing at Hollins College in Virginia (B.A., 1974; M.A., 1975). She took photography courses at Praestegaard Film School (1971), the Aegean School of Fine Arts (1972), Apeiron (1973), and the Ansel Adams Yosemite Workshop (1973). Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1973, 1976), the Friends of Photography (1974), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (1982), the National Endowment for the Arts (1982, 1988, 1992), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1987), the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (1989), and Artists in the Visual Arts (1989). Her publications include Second Sight: The Photographs of Sally Mann (1983), Immediate Family (1992), and Halloween (1993). Mann has shown in one-person exhibitions at the Southeastern Center of Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem (1988), the Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego (1989), and the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (1990). In 1994 the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, organized a traveling exhibition titled Still Time. Mann lives in her native Lexington, Virginia. A.W.