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At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women 
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Product Details 
56 pages 
Published 1991 
"Haunting black-and-white studies of children, shown here as surprisingly sensual and often distant beings, the magical keepers of some obscure and vaguely frightening secrets."--Karen Lipson, Newsday 
"Sally Mann's photography is a clear pane...not intrusion, but revelation. These young women distill something for the eye...something beautiful and sad and moving, something purely female."--Diane Sawyer 
"Sally Mann is the real thing. Just look at these photographs! At Twelve is an American classic."--Annie Dillard 
Mann's photographs reflect the lives and desires of 12-year-old girls with disturbing equanimity, resulting in a composite portrait that is both universal and intimately personal. 37 black-and-white photos.  
Book Description 
At Twelve is Sally Mann's revealing, collective portrait of twelve-year-old girls on the verge of adulthood. To be young and female in America is a time of tremendous excitement and social possibilities; it is a trying time as well, caught between childhood and adulthood, when the difference is not entirely understood. As Ann Beattie writes in her perceptive introduction, "These girls still exist in an innocent world in which a pose is only a pose-- what adults make of that pose may be the issue." The consequences of this misunderstanding can be real: destitution, abuse, unwanted pregnancy. Mann does not deny this reality, but records it, both in the faces of her subjects and in written stories that accompany thirteen of the portraits, adding another dimension to our understanding of "childhood." 
The young women in Mann's unflinching, large-format photographs, however, are not victims. They return the viewer's gaze with a disturbing equanimity. Poet Jonathan Williams writes, "Sally Mann's girls are the ones who do the hard looking in At Twelve-- be up to it!" Partly this is a result of the remarkable rapport that Mann is able to establish with her subjects. 
Herself the mother of three, Mann has lived most of her life in Lexington, Virginia, where all of these pictures were taken. In fact, many of the families of the young women were cared for by her father, who was the town doctor for over forty years. So while At Twelve is an intensely personal vision of what it means, now, to be twelve and female, each of Mann's subjects is allowed the opportunity to frankly return our wondering, reminiscent gaze and to have a history of her own, rooted in a specific place at a particular moment-- at twelve.

This photographer...

Still Time 
Sally Mann
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What Remains 
Sally Mann
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At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women 
Sally Mann (Photographer); & Ann Beattie (Introduction)
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Immediate Family 
Sally Mann (Photographer); & Reynolds Price (Photographer)
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