Beginning with pieces of our bookclub unfolding here. I just got my book and am reading slowly, but steadily and urge anyone interested to please pick up a copy this month. Discussions will wrap up sometime in Mid – late October. In the meantime, various posts dedicated to chapters and excerpts of “Hold Still” will land here sporadically as we go.
———————————–Sally Mann via Vogue Interview————————————-
Will you write another book?
No, I don’t think so. I’m beginning to see that I have limited time, and that’s such a shock. It shouldn’t come as such a big surprise to me that I’m suddenly old, but it has, and I’m getting a little panicked about it. I don’t think I have time to do any more writing. If I want to deal with what’s left of my photographic life, I’m going to have to get on it.
Writing a memoir like this also demands a commitment to really go there—to unpack those boxes in the attic. How did writing it compare to working on a photographic series?
It was excruciating. I didn’t even know I wanted to write this book. But in a certain sense, I was transported, it poured out of me. The way it came to me was almost the way pictures come to me. It was almost irrepressible at a certain point. I didn’t want to do it. I was scared to death of it. I didn’t expect to do it. I had no plans to write a memoir. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be in this position. But once I got started, it’s though I just tapped into some hidden reservoir of experience and memory. Then, those boxes. Once I got into those boxes, I thought, This is too good to let go of.
One of those boxes that you unpack in the book is the ruckus over the images in Immediate Family. Looking at the photographs now—they’re positively Edenic—it’s hard to imagine anyone reading something exploitative in them, or even to remember what a tremendous firestorm they sparked.
Not for me.
Do you think our culture has changed a lot since then?
Yes, with the exception of the right wing, I think the culture is less puritanical. And I think, with the advent of the Internet, we all know about the existence of very real and serious forms of child exploitation.
The controversy really foreshadowed the kind of privacy issues we’re wrangling with today. It’s not just attitudes toward art and nudity that have changed; image culture has changed.
There’s no doubt about that. The whole nature of photography has changed with the advent of a camera in everybody’s hand. Yesterday, I was walking down the street in New York City, looked up and saw a man who was washing windows without a harness, and the whole street was lined with people with their cellphones up in the air, waiting for him to fall.
What do you make of that?
I don’t know. Is it any different than Henri Cartier-Bresson waiting for his decisive moment? I don’t know. Are the pictures getting better? That’s the real question.