UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum


Sally Mann
American, b. 1951
Jessie Bites, c. 1985
Gelatin silver print, edition 4/25, 20 x 23.5 inches
Museum Purchase,

"We are spinning a story of what it is to grow up." In her own words, Sally Mann described the series Immediate Family in which the photographer collaborated with her three children, chronicling and staging their childhood set on their large farm in Lexington, VA. The series sparked great controversy over the sometimes unsettling, suggestive nudity and implied violence in many of the photographs. The images complicate the notion of childhood innocence to reveal the uneven mixture of self-awareness, sensuality, blithe play and purity that constitutes a child's character. Jessie Bites foregrounds the feral nature of children that adults must eventually tame.