Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Beautiful and the Damned

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my very favorite photographer, Sally Mann.  I was so obsessed with her in college that I wrote my thesis (which was a collection of poems) in response to her work . . . which meant I spent a lot of time with her photographs.  Sally Mann is a Virginia photographer whose evocative (and arguably, provocative) work is steeped in the South, and challenges traditional notions of privacy and propriety.

Night Blooming Cereus

Night Blooming Cereus might be my favorite of hers, though I definitely think that Mann's work is best taken in as an entire body (and not just as individual photographs).  She is best known for her haunting, beautiful, black & white images of her three children, who are often nude and photographed at their home or in nature surrounding their woodsy home.

Candy Cigarette

(reminds me of Juliet)


Sunday Funnies

And this last one is from her book At Twelve, which explores girls in her town on the brink of womanhood, in that delicate balance between childhood and sexuality.  The photos in this collection are so eerie and so gorgeous, and perhaps speak more about the viewer's interpretation than the subject's intent:

Untitled, from At Twelve

Although Sally Mann's work is controversial--and there are many who virulently condemn her photographs as "child pornography"--I think she's fearless and brave and that her art is exquisite (google "Popsicle Drips" for an example of her more provocative work).

And now in weird news . . . 

And I'm not kidding.


Diana Mieczan said...

I really like the top image
Have a great day

Ps: I hope you had a chance to enter my Giveaway:)

Anonymous said...

These photos are stunning, very deep and meaningful... I could stare at them all day, there is so much going on in every photo.

shelly said...

photos...beautiful :)

bieber rap...disturbing :(

Rach said...

I love Sally Mann! I studied her in an art class in college and fell in love with her photographs immediately. I tend to favor artists and writers who push the envelope and thus are deemed "controversial", but I can definitely understand why many people can't see past how shocking some of her work is. I love how many of her photographs are a delicate exploration of human sensuality, and the expressions on the faces of her children are always so exquisite and haunting. Oh, and as a true Justin Bieber fan, love the shout out at the end haha!

dennicapearl said...

omg, amazingly photographs. so prolific and profound.

i love the shift to humorous at the end with bieber. all of the craze makes me wonder whether or not i was that crazy for justin timberlake, or whoever it was when i was like 12.. lol!

<3 dennica pearl
- through the eyes of a pearl
- vintage shop

bananas. said...

i love her work!!! it provokes thought, encourages debate and breaks freaking amazing!!!

and the biebs...HA!!!! oh boy...can't wait to hear this.

bklyn76 said...

wow, so beautifully, and i may just have a little blog-crush on you knowing you did your thesis as a collection of poems.

i'm not even going to click the beiber link.

drollgirl said...

i discovered her work last year. and i love it. it is simply spectacular!

Faiza said...

thanks for the intro to sally mann. am definitely intrigued. your brain is too sexy claire!

i think bieber is cute. (not just because he's canadian) i'd much rather hear about him making headlines by having fun and poking fun at himself instead of making headlines by checking into rehab or making a "secret" sex tape.

Micaela said...

oh wow. it makes you feel a million different things and that... that's powerful.

i love your favorite and the sunday funnies.

lord, justin bieber... marianne adores him and his music! Ha


angelina la dawn said...

oh gawd justin.
and the photos are incredible! very haunting, indeed.

Phoenix Peacock said...

I love her haunting photos... I think our society is a bit weird about nudity. While I agree she is provoking and pushing boundaries I think it is upsurd that people think she is abusive/pornographic.

Krystal said...

oh gosh that bieber thing is so random! and these photos are really pretty, i like the candy cigarette one, i think i need to check some more out. i looove photography!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Sally Mann and have a book of her collections. I think it is sad that we live in a society were many miss the beauty and only see it as disturbing. I love the whimsical feel that many of her photos have. Thank you for sharing.

heather yalin said...

ooh i remember going to an exhibit of hers back in the day! Absolutely love her and this almost walk down memory lane. Oh, I have so many questions for you my dear, and the HUGEST new news ever!!! Haha, of course, the last year or so, I've been the girl with lots of news. Sheesh!

Big love and hugs!

Marz said...

Can you believe I am not at all familiar with Sally Mann?!?! How is this possible?! Thank you Claire for introducing us!!! I have seen the Candy Cigarette photo before, but never knew anything about the photographer or her work. Such beauty! I feel crazy emotion looking at these photos!!

Ahhh I LOVE Justin Beiber!!! He is the most adorable thing in the world!!!

Hiking in Stilettos said...

These pictures are beautiful and definitely haunting. I am going to look up more of her work. Thanks for sharing!

Kjrsten said...

I adore sally mann's work too. I think it is innocent and beautiful. and also, the candy cigarette shot keeps me fixed for minutes upon minutes every time I see it!

I would love to read your thesis sometime!