Sally Mann’s black and white photos of her children at various ages are beautiful pictures. Yet there is a certain level of discomfort involved when it comes to viewing them. The expressions in these children’s eyes are intense, revealing strength of character. But because often times these children have been photographed romping by the lake or in it, they are as free, and naked, as jaybirds. The viewer becomes implicated in an act of voyeurism and is left feeling very much the intruder. Mann’s work has been described as controversial, with accusations from the right, which are then shot down by those who champion her artistic integrity. Mann started photographing her children as infants and her work chronicles their growing up, with rural Virginia a lush, earthy backdrop. Over the years, Mann’s focus swept slowly from her children to the land that surrounded them, so embracing the later photographs feels less of an invasion of privacy. Still, interesting to contemplate the roles of mother, artist, chronicler and photographer, and one’s own role as a viewer. The works shown here at Art MoCo are not those which we consider the best, but rather those we are most comfortable reproducing.
Artist: Sally Mann
Jessie in the Wind