Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

About the Author

Sally Mann (born in Lexington, Virginia, 1951) is one of America's most renowned photographers. She has received numerous awards, including NEA, NEH, and Guggenheim Foundation grants, and her work is held by major institutions internationally. Her many books include What Remains (2003), Deep South (2005), and the Aperture titles At Twelve (1988), Immediate Family (1992), Still Time (1994), Proud Flesh (2009), and The Flesh and the Spirit (2010). A feature film about her work, What Remains, debuted to critical acclaim in 2006. Mann is represented by Gagosian Gallery, New York. She lives in Virginia.

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

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Sally Mann

A revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann.


In this groundbreaking book, 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 page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.

  • Softcover
  • 6 x 9.25 inches
  • 496 pages
  • Published: 2016

Editorial Reviews

"The best quality of Hold Still—a book that strikes me as an instant classic among Southern memoirs of the last 50 years—is its ambient sense of an original, come-as-you-are life that has been well lived and well observed. It's a book that dials open the aperture on your own senses." —Dwight Garner, New York Times

"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

"In Hold Still, Sally Mann demonstrates a talent for storytelling that rivals her talent for photography. The book is riveting, ravishing—diving deep into family history to find the origins of art. I couldn't take my eyes off of it." —Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

"Few photographers of any time or place have matched Sally Mann's steadiness of simple eyesight, her serene technical brilliance, and the clearly communicated eloquence she derives from her subjects, human and otherwise—subjects observed with an ardor that is all but indistinguishable from love." —Reynolds Price, Time


2015 National Book Awards Finalist for Nonfiction


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