Sally Mann Morgan Sullivan
Background • Born in Lexington, Virginia. • Youngest of three children. • Graduated from The Putney School in 1969. • Attended Bennington College and Friends World College. • Earned a Bacheler’s Degree at Hollins University in 1974.
Beginning Photography • Sally Mann started photography in High School, and claims it was to be alone in the dark room with her boyfriends. • Her first photo was a nude classmate while she was at Putney. • Her father encouraged her photography career and gave her first camera to her.
Early Career • After graduating, Mann became a staff photographer at Washington and Lee University, working on surreal pictures as part of her very first collection, Second Sight (1984). • Her second collection, At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women (1988), was very controversial. The collection was made up of portraits of adolescent girls developing their identities, and was thought to some people as inappropriate. • Mann’s third collection, Immediate Family (1992), is one of her most well known. The book contains her three children, all under the age of 10, many of which were nude. The controversy around this book was massive, many accused her of child pornography. She stated that these photos showed her children in a natural state. • Her fourth book, Still Time, was published in 1994. It contained color and black-and-white photographs.
Later Career • She received an award for America’s best photographer in 2001. • Mann created four more books in the next 14 years, including : • What Remains (2003), a collection of mostly decomposing bodies of humans and animals. • Deep South (2005), which is composed of beautiful landscapes. • Proud Flesh (2009), a book showing her husband’s life with muscular dystrophy. • The Flesh and The Spirit (2010). • Mann is currently working on a series of self portraits, a study of slavery in Virginia, and a series about her intimate family lifethat which spans over 30 years.
Personal Life • Sally Mann lives with her three children: Emmett, who joined the Peace Corps; Jessie, an artist, photographer, and model; and Virginia, who is working to become a lawyer. • She lives on a farm with her husband, Larry, who is a full-time attorney. He has muscular dystrophy. • Mann loves horses and horseback riding. In 2006, her horse threw her off while having an aneurism and she broke her back. It took her two years to recover which lead her to create a series of self-portraits.
Mediums • Mann has experimented with color photography, but she prefers black and white, especially antique technology. • She has been using her 8x10 bellows camera for a long time. • Mann has explored platinum and bromoil printing processes. • In the mid-90’s she began the wet plate collodion process that she still uses today. It is said to look like a hybrid between sculpture, painting, and photography.