“In the early fall, I drank coffee with several generations of the Conner family, the close air of their kitchen settling across my shoulders like a shawl. I explained what I was doing and, as so often happened, their initial suspicion gave way gradually to caution and then to curiosity and a guarded acceptance. They agreed that I could photograph Kelly.
At dawn at the first day of hunting season they called where the deer were beheaded and hung. As I set up the camera, Kelly appeared, buttoned up, accompanied by her mother, her aunt and uncle, her grandparents, cousins, and a few other family members. Arrayed behind me, they remained watchful and intent.
As I pulled her jacket back, to separate her white-shirted figure from the darkness of the shed, I thought I might have heard a murmur. After few minutes I relaxed enough to identify the prevalence of the V shapes in the scene and without thinking I asked Kelly to spread her legs. This time the murmur was audible, but I could see that the picture was complete.”
Text and photograph (above) by Sally Man; from her book ‘At Twelve. Portraits of young women’ (© 1988, Aperture Foundation).