Cover image for What remains
What remains
Mann, Sally, 1951-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Bulfinch Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
129 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 30 x 33 cm
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR654 .M32352 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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Internationally acclaimed artist, Sally Mann, named America's Best' photographer in 2001 by Time magazine, offers this deeply felt meditation on morality. Renowned for her controversial study of childhood and child sexuality, in which she photographed her own children in the nude, this new body of work takes the form of a five-part meditation on mortality, focusing on the divide between body and soul, the means by which life takes leave of this earth, and the manner in which it rejoins it. By turns shocking and sublime, this will be the year's most exciting photography book.'

Author Notes

Sally Mann is the author of Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs which won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. The award included a monetary prize of $5000.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mann's previous collections, Immediate Family and At Twelve, recorded the bodies of children with a frank, slightly detached sensuality at a time when public hysteria around issues of child sexuality was sharply on the rise. The fact that many of the images were of her own children left Mann particularly vulnerable to charges of exploitation. But though controversial, what deflected such accusations was the serene flawlessness of Mann's pictorialist photographic technique, which somehow contained her very real provocation without necessarily resolving it. An even deeper sense of subtle disturbance pervades the four suites of photographs that make up this latest collection, whose subjects are mortality and death. In the two most graphic and difficult sequences, the remains of a beloved family dog and the corpses at a forensic lab are given equal emotional weight, equally luxuriant and pitiless memorialization. The difficult and time-consuming glass-plate process Mann employs, which results in an often dark, stressed and uneven surface, mirrors both the decay of the subjects and the movement of time that has claimed them. In another set, the almost invisible traces left by the death of a fugitive on Mann's property are recorded in washed-out images that convey with numb bleariness violence's psychic consequences. But in the book's most successful sequence-depicting the Civil War battlefield of Antietam-there are no literal traces of the dead at all, only an overwhelming psychic weight, which is reflected in intensely dark surfaces pocked with fissures and holes that at times resemble fields of stars laid over the barely visible hills, trees and fields. And if the last sequence, a series of extreme close-up portraits of Mann's (now grown) children, is less powerful by comparison, it provides the elegiac and loving coda to a book whose richness of presentation and sober subject matter work off of each other in varied and unexpected ways. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Mann states that she tries to capture "beauty tinged with sadness" in her photographs, an apt description for what she has often achieved in her career since the 1988 appearance of At Twelve and again in this volume of current work. Here, Mann creates dreamlike meditations on death, memory, and matter in five disconnected series of photos. She manipulates the surface emulsion using 19th-century collodion and ambrotype processes, creating work that appears to be undergoing the same process of decay that all life is bound to. Two of the image groupings-dusky close-ups of her own children and the disinterred remains of a beloved dog-represent dark continuations of the focus on familial relationships that made Mann famous. These sepia-fogged elaborations on flesh and blood are enhanced by their juxtaposition with three other, even more macabre sections: decaying bodies at a forensics study site, a crime scene near her bucolic Virginia farmhouse, and the Antietam battleground. Considering the more pastoral photographs in earlier projects, these images haunt like Poussin's famous allegory of death's constant presence, even in paradise: Et in Arcadia Ego. Mann has been called "the Faulkner of the lens," and two years ago Time dubbed her "America's best photographer." Photographs displaying the expressive facility as these will only solidify this reputation. A worthy addition to any collection.-Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.