A revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann.
In this groundbreaking audiobook, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her.
Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land... racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder."
In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the pause-resisting drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying photographs will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2015 Sally Mann (P)2015 Hachette Audio
"One would not need to know Sally Mann's remarkable work as a photographer to be swept up in her memoir Hold Still, which draws upon a family history so rife with jaw-dropping drama that it could provide the grist for a dozen novels. With prodigious intellect and a telling instinct for the exact detail that will reveal character or throw it into question, Mann delves into the treacherous territory of memory, mesmerized by the relentless dance of beauty and decay. In doing so, she manifests in prose the acuity of seeing that has propelled her to the top rank of contemporary artists." (Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree and The Noonday Demon)
"Hold Still is a wild ride of a memoir. Visceral and visionary. Fiercely beautiful. My kind of true adventure." (Patti Smith, musician and National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids)
"What I admire most about Sally Mann's new book is not her ability to write captivating sentences - she does. It's the honesty and fearlessness, the two mixed together, compelling her to own up to her mistakes, to acknowledge her winnings, to accept her losses (and those of her family). For this quality alone, Hold Still deserves a fixed place in the library of American memoir." (Paul Hendrickson, author of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost)
Sally Mann paints vivid portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes. I listen again and again.
I was especially struck by the moment when she realizes that offering a lift to a crippled black man might have endangered his life. She grew up in the Jim Crow south, but had no understanding of the racial realities of that environment.
This book needs to be savored over days and even weeks.
Blurry photographs in the PDF are an insult to the author and the reader. The publisher should fix this by scaling them appropriately. They are clear in thumbnails. Fix this abomination!
I enjoy the hearing about this artists life and have always enjoyed her work. But the downloadable PDF is the WORST! I think audible needs to redo. Please!
While reading, still at the beginning:
I am enjoying this a lot. At the same time I am upset. Why? Because the audibook includes a PDF file with more than 400 photos. What is VERY annoying is that the PDF file does not work correctly. I can only see 12 photos, and these photos I know now were not part of this book. Audible says they will fix it, but when? I was told that others have run into the same problem. This is a warning to other readers. As you listen the author tells you to look at particular photos and I cannot do that. :0( Make sure you have access to all the photos/pictures before you start listening to the audiobook.
Even without the photos I very much appreciate the book, but knowing that I should be able to see them annoys me to no end.
Well, finally I have seen all the photos. They are half of the book; the lines are woven around them. You cannot judge the book without access to them! Unfortunately I was able to see them only after hearing the entire audiobook. You should look at the pictures as you listen, not afterwards. I was going to give the book three stars before I saw the photos, but now having seen them I feel that "the whole" is worth at least four stars. One's whole perception is altered. What are the photos of? Of course Sally Mann's photography, but not just that. You see photos of her ancestors, her parents and her g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s kids. Her beloved black nanny Gee-Gee, her father's black nanny (Look, this is a Southern family!), letters, children's drawings, dogs, report cards, disciplinary notes, art work and more. You see real life. Art and "photography as art" is best when its subject matter is real life. Sally Mann thinks that, and so do I. The photos and the lines of text explaining them hold the book together.
There is one very simple reason why I REALLY liked this book, and again I see this best having now viewed the pictures, Sally and I are born in the same year (1951). Same clothes, same "country life", same hairstyles, same mannerisms. I remember those times, and the photos bring it all back in spades. There is one photo there of her that when my husband saw it, exclaimed, but that looks just like YOU, meaning me! Remember, I mentioned the hairstyles. My brother was into black and white photography and there is one pose that is amazingly similar. You see that time in sharp focus. There is more that I recognize. Her honest portrayal of her own life, the wonder of it along with the vomit and heartbreak, feels like my own life. ….even if I never lived in the South! Her mother comes from Boston. Her father from Texas. She grew up in Virginia but went to boarding school on the East Coast. Her parents valued a good education. This is a given in the world she came from. At the same time she is a free spirit. Or let's be blunt - she is naughty, she is mischievous. She rode horses; she was a "tom girl" at heart. She is a person who adores the country, rural life over an urban milieu. She sees its beauty. There is even more. I feel a kindred spirit in what she was trying to express through her photography, with her honesty, with all her questions. She, like I, do not always have to get answers, but love the whole process of looking for answers, not to get them but to look for them. Does that make sense? This book does not provided finished answers to the questions posed. This doesn’t bother me.
I adore Sally Mann's photography. In this book she looks with us at some of her photos, her successes and some of the "failures". She explains what she thinks has gone wrong, and every darn time I nodded. Exactly! She, like I, don't think art should be analyzed. Either you see it or you don't. People don't necessarily react in the same way. Oh, and about the uproar that the naked photos of her children caused - utterly ridiculous! I was in Sweden then. My kids ran around naked at, yes, public beaches. Women were topless at public beaches then, at least in Sweden. For God's sake she and her kids were all alone on their own property, in the woods, in a river with not a soul for miles and miles! What a hullabaloo about nothing. Didn't people see the spirit of the children, their natural beauty and their dignity? Look at the head, the jut of the chin, the eyes. Capturing that is art in its purest form. She thanks her children for creating these masterpieces with her. She understood and they understood too that they were creating art. Together. In this book, she thanks her children, but I also think what a gift she has given her children by working with them.
The book isn't perfect.....but almost. ;0) The topics covered are, beside art, the biography of her family, the South, race and death/mortality. She doesn't attempt to give you a biographic summary of every one in her family, only those closest to her, her father and his grandfather b/c those two were so similar. These three are peas in a pod. That is why in the book description the topic of genetic predetermination comes up! I find nature versus nurture question a fascinating topic! Race is covered best as she critically questions her own behavior and her parents' treatment of her nanny, Gee-Gee. Did she love Gee-Gee and did Gee-Gee love her? Definitely. What about the love between her and her father and her mother too? This is so honestly portrayed. How often is it that you can pick up an autobiography and get the truth! Ooops, that is more praise, but what doesn't quite work is the spread of the topics covered. There is a bit too much. Her theme of looking at "the South" could have been cut. She also has an "exciting episode" that even if it did happen it feels as though it is there to attract readers. Look at the second paragraph of the book description. That whole paragraph could have been eliminated, but it is there to attracct readers. This episode could be seen as a thread twined into the topic of death and mortality, but it's weak. Its real purpose is for excitement.
The writing - it's oblique, more often allusive than blunt. She refers to artists and authors and books and singers and the trends of her time. You must be able to snap them up immediately in order to understand the point made, to understand the innuendos. Particularly when listening to the audiobook. The author narrates the book herself. Sometimes, to catch the significance of what she is implying, a little slower speed would have been good, but this is not a serious complaint. She does a good narration.
One more thing. This is a new kind of audiobook. Sure, I have run into audiobooks with a PDF file, but never have so many pictures been provided. A wonderful new trend!!!!
IF I had had access to the photos as I read the book, I might very well have given this five stars.
Audible gave me a credit as compensation. I think that was kind of them!
Sally intrigued me from the very start. There is nothing boring about her family history, that is a fact. Her writing style is direct and full of imagination. Her sentences set the stage for what's to come and make poetic leaps from chapter to chapter. Thank you Sally for this passionate play on your personal history, your honest account and bravery to leave no stone unturned. A photographer and writer living with the shutter wide open.
This is from start to finish an intense memoir, an essay on photography and perception and memory, and history of the South and race relations. Towards the end it grows quite macabre in its description of the Body Farm, where human corpses are laid out in the landscape in order to study their disintegration -- and for Mann to photograph. Be sure to download the companion PDF file to view a large selection of reasonably well-reproduced photos. Mann does an excellent job of reading her text.
The authenticity of her voice made the experience quite enjoyable. It really seemed like she was talking to me. She is able to go back and forth in time without any confusion.At times this is a brutally honest book about her family and herself. No apologies made-One of the best listening experiences I have had so far.
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