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Contemporary American photographer Sally Manns 1993 series ImmediateFamily documents the private lives and intimate experiences of her threeyoung children The 78 page paperback consists of 65 black and whitephotographs taken between 1984 and 1991 at the familys secludedprivate estate in rural Virginia The natural landscape of the Americansouth serves as backdrop to Manns haunting and evocative imageryEmmet Virginia and Jessie Mann are at once remarkably beautiful andprofoundly mysterious In their mothers images they are sometimespoised often conflicted and nearly always unclothed The photographs of Sally Mann are evocative dark and highly erotic Theexplosive public reaction to Immediate Familys original 1993 isprimarily due to bad timing The sexual exploitation of children wasjust too much of a taboo Mann failed to empathize with the publicsheightened sensitivity to the delicacy of the topic and she was highlycriticized for it Her ambivalent disregard for the seductivepeculiarity of her images combined with her adamant denial of theirindecency simple rubbed conservative American media sources the wrongway Correspondingly her exhibitions at several national art museumswere quickly dismembered while many of her photographs were deniedpublication in prominent news sources Some critics even went as far asto call Mann a child pornographer an accusation her grown children nowadamantly denyLike all controversies the negative notoriety of the Immediate Familyseries only served to make it more popular I hardly know of a betterway to increase the desirability of something than to declare it obsceneand go to great lengths to make it inaccessible I was two years oldwhen the book first came out and needless to say unaware of thehysteria it caused I wouldnt discover the work of Sally Mann until2005 in a high school photography class Like most high school studentsI was interested in anything involving nudity and all thingscontroversial To my slight disappointment the series wasnt reallyabout either Interestingly the strange eroticism of the Mann children is in no wayadult-like Instead their blatant understanding of their own sensualityappears to be something that they already
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