Candy Cigarette- Sally Mann

I don’t remember the first time I encountered this photo by Sally Mann but I do remember being confronted by it. I understand it’s a shot of her daughter from a book entitled Immediate Family.

I think it’s confronting because it forces me to think about transition and my own experience of this. Mann’s daughter poses with a confectionery cigarette, adopting a highly adult stance. Her expression is sullen and her right arm guards her body. I always wonder about the authenticity of shots like this, that exude such mood- was Mann following her children around with a camera, or was this shot highly directed?

Visually, the tones of the image really appeal to me and although the subject of the shot is centred, the figures on the chair and to the right of the frame disrupt the symmetry. The shot appears candid and I like the thought that I’m privy to a moment in time.

It’s a beautiful image and I admire Mann’s bravery as a photographer and a parent.

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