#5/16 Sally Mann

April 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

21st Editions is now celebrating sixteen years of The Art of the Book! In this series of sixteen emails we are sharing with you a chronology of highlights, events and stories from the beginning of our unique publishing endeavor up until now. We hope you enjoy them.

In one of the first conversations John Wood and I had about who he we would like to publish he asked me who I wanted to work with, above all others. I looked at him with my head tipped, as if he already knew, and we simultaneously announced to each other, “Sally Mann,” of course. It wasn’t until 2002, however, that Sally agreed to work with us, initially for Volume V of The Journal of Contemporary Photography. Then, in 2003, we started to hash out with Sally what proved to be one of the most successful Platinum Series monographs from 21st Editions, Sally Mann, winner of a 2005 Lucie Award.

What excited John (and me) was the possibility of publishing, with this early pre-family body of work, Sally’s poetry. John thought she was a very fine poet and it took some convincing. Her stance was modest and firm, but not completely unwavering. After all, Sally’s poetry had never been published and hasn’t been since, but she trusted John and I believe was happy she did.


Grateful and excited to follow up Sally Mann with Southern Landscape, we enlisted John Stauffer, one of Harvard University’s leading scholars to write the text to accompany 14 of Sally’s yet unpublished landscapes from her Deep South series. Stauffer, whose expertise as an abolitionist scholar, brought a deep understanding of the history of place in the South, and particularly the locations of Sally’s focus. One year prior to John writing his deeply poetic and elucidating text, he invited Sally to Harvard as the speaker and guest for the acclaimed Massey Lecture Series. John recounts that it was the first time in his history at Harvard that he witnessed a standing ovation for the speaker.   

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