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At twelve

February 24, 2008


“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).

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 25, 2009 1:49 pm

    Think in pictures … thanks for the concept and also for the blog. Sally Man is truly very interesting, intriging and at the same time she is so humble in her view at the world.

    I am very impressed and touched by her photography.

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