My high school photography teacher introduced me to Sally Mann several years ago. At the time, I was trying to push the envelope in my photo classes by taking darker-themed pictures. Mann is best known for a series of “controversial” photos she took of her children in the ’90s, Immediate Family, but then later for her photos of decay and destruction.
Having no background on the Mann family, nor having any information on what was going on during the time of these photographs, Immediate Family “touches on darker themes such as insecurity, loneliness, injury, sexuality and death” through many “typical childhood themes (skinny dipping, reading the funnies, dressing up, napping, playing board games).”
However, I recently watched What Remains, a documentary about the process behind Mann’s photos which reveals much more about these photos. It was so interesting to finally get the story behind each of these seemingly dark and twisted photos, revealing that there is actually much love and gentleness that went into capturing these photos.
What Remains is available to watch on YouTube in several parts.