‘Hold Still’ by Sally Mann with Karen

Attached is the excellent presentation (without the videos) that Karen used in her discussion about ‘Stay Still’. We unfortunately could not meet in Karen’s beautiful backyard due to weather, so met once again using Zoom. You can see by the thoughtful comments below that the book generated a lively discussion and Karen’s discussion preparation was most appreciated.

From Erin:

Thank you for the incredibly well prepared presentation Karen.  Your questions were very stimulating of the issues that are often raised by art… I too loved her photographs, as they are both beautiful and sometimes disturbing… certainly very evocative… AND they raise different issues for me around the ethics of informed consent… especially re children, who are too young to fully comprehend the ramifications. 
Sally Mann certainly seemed consumed by the “messiness” of the body as well as its beauty… as depicted by her photos in dire situations, and in the decay of death… flesh melting away from bone… return to the earth… and  the question of the “mystery of life” itself.  What is it that transforms the physical (matter) to an “alive” from a dormant or “dead” state?  Questions about the soul… and her mention in the book of the weight of the soul when it leaves… get me thinking about this question of what separates life from death.

From Moira:
Many thanks Karen, your presentation was very insightful and probing.  As usual, the discussion gave me much more to think about and made me question my own biased beliefs. Thanks for recommending a book I likely would not have read . Loved seeing the collection of photos at the end as it reminded me of Sally Mann’s extraordinary talent and passion .

From Jeanne:

Adding my thanks Karen! I really appreciate your research and presentation, as it took me beyond some of the preconceived opinions I had about the book and the author. It was a great discussion everyone, looking forward to ‘seeing’ you all at Ann’s bookclub!

From Bev:

Outstanding presentation, Karen. Your PowerPoint guided me to delve deeper into the book. Art and artists tend to ask really tough questions. There is always more beyond the surface and it is not easy to get to the deeper intent and meaning. Your research and probing help me to better understand Sally Mann and her work.

Great discussion.

From Laura:

Excellent summary Karen, and some thoughtful, probing questions that have me revisiting how my construct may have changed over the years around artistic expression, and why. It’s always good for me to hear what others are saying, and know if I might be out of step with current thinking. I don’t think I can add much more to the already astute and insightful commentary given, but I appreciate the opportunity to debate and discuss these difficult subjects, so that we all have the opportunity to gain an increased worldview. 
I will say again that Sally Mann is a talented artist, and has worked incredibly hard to perfect her craft. I really enjoyed the montage at the end. I look forward to hearing of her future journey, as I can see that life has been a struggle for her and a bit of a roller coaster. Thanks for recommending this book.

From Ann:

Great job!   I think I related to the book much like you did, Karen!  I loved her photographs of her kids.  I think the kids were on board and were supporting her and therefore quite willing to participate.  Their mom was into photography and that was just how it was.  Other parents are into sports, or drugs or hockey or whatever and they all affect the kids- it is just that kids don’t think there is anything wrong with it. I can see how sharing them caused an uproar and upset some people but damn – they are beautiful.  I agree with whoever said she was brave to reflect on her privilege.  To admit she did things “wrong” (although she wasn’t aware enough to know it at the time) is kind of the point that those of us with privilege must do.  So many (me included) are afraid to weigh in because we will be judged and she just shares her thoughts and ideas.  It really has to start with this to make any long term change at all.  Anyhoo…. just thought I’d weigh in. It takes me a while to figure out what I want to say and even so I am not sure if I have expressed myself well.  Thanks

Sally Mann Hold Still Presentation


Filed under Book Club Meetings

2 responses to “‘Hold Still’ by Sally Mann with Karen

  1. Thanks Jane for posting the comments and presentation. I noticed that not all of the pictures were “allowed”. I assume they have copyright protection, though I was able to copy them into my presentation…

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