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Sally Mann’s Corporeal Body of Work

Known for her celebratory photographs of her young children playing dress-up, skinny-dipping, and vamping, Sally Mann is one of America’s most controversial photographers. The Virginia-based artist was accused of child pornography in the 1990s by the religious right, but critics praised the pictures for capturing innocence. Over the past 25 years, Mann has built an impressive body of work documenting her family and the landscape of the south with experimental glass plate photography.

The subject of a survey show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, titled The Flesh and the Spirit that’s accompanied by an Aperture monograph, Mann exhibits family pictures, semi-abstract self-portraits, and figure studies of her husband, who suffers from a muscle disorder. Taken together, they present a poetic overview of life, from the exuberance of youth to dealing with issues of aging and mortality.

Sally Mann: The Flesh and The Spirit is on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts through January 23 and the book is available from Amazon.

Click through below for a gallery of images.


Sally Mann, Untitled, 1978-80. From Sally Mann: The Flesh and The Spirit (Aperture 2010) © Sally Mann/VMFA/Aperture

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