Skip to content

Review: Hold Still

April 2, 2015

Hold Still


Well known and controversial photographer Sally Mann shares her story in Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, and what a fascinating story it is!  Mann comes from a family of unconventional and interesting characters which would be fascinating all by itself but her story is so much more than that.

Mann had a somewhat privileged childhood, at least compared to mine.  The daughter of a doctor, the family maid was instrumental in raising her.  She attended prep school in Vermont and married young.  She started her career as a photographer at Washington & Lee University and later starting showing her work in art galleries which led to the publication of several books.  Her book Immediate Family features several nude photographs of her children and was received with mixed reviews – some called her work groundbreaking while others found it offensive.

Sally Mann is a gifted writer, so I was drawn into Hold Still right from the start.  The book is written beautifully and I found it incredibly compelling.  Even though she’s only a few years older than I am, Mann’s life was very different from mine and I found it fascinating.  Like her photographs, she’s open, honest, and introspective in this book.  One of the things that makes this book really unique is the photographs scattered throughout it – photos of Mann and her family as well as notes, newspaper clippings, report cards, etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hold Still and found it very thought provoking.  I wanted to talk about it the whole time I was reading it so I think it would make a wonderful book club selection.  This is a must read for everyone who enjoys memoirs and/or photography.  It will be published on May 12, 2015

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2015 6:47 am

    Her life sounds really different from mine as well!

  2. April 2, 2015 7:47 am

    Your enthusiasm really shines for this. I will put it on my list.

  3. April 2, 2015 7:59 am

    This one sounds like a must-read! I will check it out.

  4. April 2, 2015 8:16 am

    This sounds like a memoir I’d like.

  5. April 2, 2015 8:42 am

    Great review, it sounds terrific.

  6. April 2, 2015 9:57 am

    I’ve read a number of memoirs, and this one sounds like another good choice.

  7. April 2, 2015 10:57 am

    I love memoirs about unique people…and I am always drawn to stories about photographers. Thanks! Lovely review.

  8. April 2, 2015 11:02 am

    it’s so interesting to me how memoirs have gained in popularity over the years. this one definitely sounds like a must read! I will keep an eye for it come publication day!

  9. April 2, 2015 12:03 pm

    I love memoirs, and this sounds like one I’d enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  10. April 2, 2015 12:09 pm

    Memoirs are one of my favorite genres.

  11. April 2, 2015 12:12 pm

    I have seen her photographs, and personally I find them works of art, but I can also see how people would think them offensive. I’d be very interested to read this! Funny, I just read the wiki article about her, and it says she used her camera to capture moments when her children were playing, sometimes telling them to freeze for a moment. But I seem to remember reading elsewhere one of her sons complaining about how he had to pose over and over again for her to get the perfect shot- that sounds more staged to me.

  12. April 2, 2015 1:27 pm

    I haven’t read a memoir lately. Will look into this one further! I can tell you really liked it.

  13. Patty permalink
    April 2, 2015 3:51 pm

    i really wish I loved memoirs…she sounds interestingly different!

  14. April 2, 2015 5:42 pm

    This sounds wonderful, Kathy! I hadn’t heard of Sally Mann before!

  15. Diane permalink
    April 2, 2015 8:53 pm

    I bet I’d like this as well. Thanks for sharing.

  16. April 2, 2015 11:53 pm

    I love memoirs but I’m not familiar with Sally Mann. I may need to see what I can learn. I can really see how you moved you are by this book.

  17. April 3, 2015 2:45 pm

    I love photography, and I’m not familiar with Mann. This sounds like an interesting coupling of memoir and photos. I’m not sure if I’d pick up her other book though with the nudes.

  18. April 3, 2015 4:18 pm

    Love this! This blog post really inspired me to look back at Sally Mann’s work and I’ve just written a post about her if you fancy reading it over at 🙂

  19. April 3, 2015 11:25 pm

    Interesting. I don’t remember the controversy of her photographing her kids. Looks good!

  20. April 4, 2015 6:42 pm

    I love memoirs and this one sounds fascinating!

  21. bookingmama permalink
    April 8, 2015 8:19 pm

    This one does sound interesting and a good book club pick. I bet there would be some controversy over this one!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: