I have never really been enthused by anything visually artistic. My own personal inclinations have always leaned more towards music and literature, so being assigned to write an analysis or opinion essay of my favorite piece of art was a little intimidating. I spent three days searching for something thought provoking, and was beginning to feel discouraged, when I came across a series of photographs entitled Immediate Family by Sally Mann. I was first introduced to this series by the image Candy Cigarette; a beautiful girl smoking a “cigarette” while displaying body language much too mature for her age. Upon further inspection, two more children can be seen in the photo; another young girl, who also displays an adult pose; and a boy playing on stilts. I became fascinated with the way Sally Mann captured the essence of girls being forced to grow up much too quickly using the contrast of the young boy’s uncomplicated play and the adult mannerisms of the two female children. I was struck by how much of myself I could see in this young girl and felt compelled to discover more about the series. Sally Mann photographed her children growing up over a period of seven years for the series Immediate Family, immortalizing the realities of childhood. While most parents were taking pictures of their children’s triumphs, Mann was capturing the darker side of youth: bedwetting, bug bites, bloody noses, insecurity, and sexuality. I have heard it said many times, “Good art evokes emotion;” at the very least, Sally Mann has accomplished this in spades. When Immediate Family was released, numerous people were extremely offended by the nudity and sexualization of the children, and equated many of the photographs to child pornography. While I personally wouldn’t say the photographs are pornographic, I was most certainly bothered by many of the images in the series. I was both appalled and entranced by three specific photographs of Mann’s middle child:...
Cited: Mann, Sally. Immediate Family. N.p.: Aperture, 1992. Print.
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