American, born 1951
Sally Mann’s black and white photographs of her children, taken against the lush backdrop of her woodland home in Virginia, portray the universal qualities of dignity, individuality and intimacy. The resultant black and white photographs–sometimes controversial, always deeply perceptive–are fraught with the intensity of Mann’s observations of her family and her environment. The interactions of place and time, of family and friends, inform every image. Her photographs pose questions at the most fundamental levels–there are no easy solutions to the mysteries of family life, of a child’s thriving within and inexorably growing beyond the loving confines of the garden. The extraordinary dexterity with which Mann uses the 8X10 inch view camera contributes to the force of the photographs–their composition is musical in its fluidity.
Mann was born in Lexington, Virginia in 1951. She attended the Putney School, Bennington College and Friends World College, and received a BA, Summa Cum Laude from Hollins College in 1974. She was awarded an MA in Writing from Hollins College in 1975. She studied photography at the Praestegaard Film School, the Aegean School of Fine Arts, Apeiron, and the Ansel Adams Yosemite Workshop. She is the recipient of countless awards, including the Friends of Photography “Photographer of the Year” Award in 1995, three National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowships (1992, 1988, and 1982), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1987), a Professional Fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (1982) and an Artists in the Visual Arts (AVA) Fellowship in 1989.
Mann’s photographs are in numerous prestigious collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among many others. Mann has been the subject of major exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings was presented at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in 2018 (traveling to the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Jeu de Paume, Paris; and High Museum of Art, Atlanta, through 2020); the exhibition features some 115 photographs, many of which have not been exhibited or published previously. Mann’s photographs can be found in many public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Her book Sally Mann: Still Time was published by Aperture in 1994. Aperture published the now classic American photography book Immediate Family in 1992, and At Twelve, Portraits of Young Women in 1988. Her first monograph, entitled Second Sight, The Photographs of Sally Mann was published by David Godine in Boston in 1982.