Venus de Milo

Photographer Sally Mann

 

Venus de Milo

Front and forward
In vintage light
Her alabaster skin
And sun-kissed hair
Glowed brighter than the rest
There’s no denying
Among the crowd
Of same-old, same-old
She stood out
At five, late afternoon
Poised with confidence
Obvious swag and personality
Born with provocative gesture
Shoulder thrown back with la-di-da motion
Hip turned out in told-you-so pivot
Brows tipped down
In thoughtful calculation
She was and always would be
The cat that swallowed the canary

 

“I like to make people a little uncomfortable. It encourages them to examine who they are and why they think the way they do.”
― Sally Mann


Video — “
Sally Mann *

 

Copyright © 2018 Mia Pharaoh. All rights reserved.

 

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44 thoughts on “Venus de Milo

  1. Great words Mia, especially the positive conclusion. My random thought? Two random thoughts. ‘Dark but not dark’ and ‘In Neverland a goddess doesn’t have to be Greek’. Maybe ‘aspiring’ goddess would be a better word. Anyhow, from what I’ve seen of Sally Mann’s work from a few months ago it feels like being stabbed in the eye with a sharp stick – in a good, important way. It gets a reaction, she makes you think, and that is what it’s supposed to do?

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    1. JGC, wonderful random thoughts, I especially love, ‘In Neverland a goddess doesn’t have to be Greek’. That’s a wow, my mind is traveling so fast on that one, thinking about so many scenarios, AND most of them tie back to Peter Pan and messages there. Excellent. I like your analogy of a sharp stick, I think her images scream, “look at me and don’t look away”. It’s up to the audience to take a ride with the emotions that the photos bring about, and that is so very important. Yes, I agree, Sally Mann’s work does get a reaction, it does make you think, and she does it so well. Please have a stellar week ahead. ~ PM

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  2. That’s an extraordinary area she (Sally Mann) is dealing with – should children be left out of adult culture until they are “old enough” – or what? It sure is a loaded question, cos who’s to say who is ready for what and when? And to what extent are innocent children being influenced by adult behaviour? As soon as someone takes out a camera . . .

    Cool post Mia, very clever picture and words! Very interesting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ogden! It is an extraordinary area Sally Mann is dealing with, and she does it so well. In truth there’s been a flurry of controversy around her work. Given, children are hardly ready to be adults, yet they do play and emulate the things they see in order to find their footing in the world. Thanks for a great comment, I’m glad you found the post interesting. 🙂

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  3. Yes, “the cat that swallowed the canary.” I felt the montage very much. Particularly the one with the girl and her prominent knees, squatting with palms to prayer. And that piano… Thank you for sharing beauty, Mia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Amaya, thank you. I know exactly which photo you’re talking about, it’s stunning, and brings about so many heartfelt emotions and thoughts. I think it’s inspiring when an artist is able to do just that, make you feel and think with their art. The music in the video is a piano cover by Annellie of “Where the Wild Roses Grow” (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds — LP: Murder Ballads 1995). Please enjoy the rest of your week. ~ Mia

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    1. Dearest Soul, thank you my lovely friend. I’m very happy that you like this post. I find Sally Mann’s photographs to be terrific and thought provoking, I’ve loved her work from the moment I was introduced to it. Much love to you. ~ Mia xo

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  4. Amazing presentation and montage Mia and your poem wrapped up beautifully. A provocative subject this one and interpretation can vary from society to society. Beauty exist at many levels and Sally Mann does have a truly artistic eye for it.

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    1. Hector, thank you for your kind words. I agree, beauty does exist on many levels. Sally Mann’s work captures this idea, she really does have a unique and wonderful artistic eye. Please enjoy what’s left of your evening and have a terrific week ahead.

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  5. Bravo/ Did the photo inspire this amazing write?

    Some people are just born that way. Oh, I am so delighted to reconnect with your writing. It was one of the things I truly missed when I was gone.

    Mia you are wonderful. Have a good one.

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    1. Thank you, Andrew, you’re far too kind. The photo did inspire this write. I’ve revisited this photo so many times, it pulls me in every time. I looked at it the other day and the words just poured out, which is not my typical approach. I also agree, some people are born with “it”. I’m so delighted that you’re back too, it’s always a pleasure to read your words. I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend, and please have a wonderful week ahead.

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  6. Shades of Lee Miller and her father, methinks, yet poles apart in so many ways. In an age when a grandfather cannot take a photograph on his grandchild on a swing in a playground without attracting strangest looks, Ms Mann’s shot levels the playing field and is, with the aid of your studiously, exceptional word craft, a refreshing slant on a modern hackneyed, lowest common denominator, ill informed world view.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike, thank you so much. Yes, absolutely on the Lee and father front. I find Sally Mann’s photos beautiful, evoking a lot of thought and emotion. Poor camera carrying grandpa. Has the net been cast too large? All the busy-body-do-gooders with their Good Samaritan armchair speculations have their eyes on all of us. I’m quite sure these are the same individuals that have compiled the banned book list. Please have a wonderful week ahead.

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  7. Great words. Makes one wonder at exactly what point society decides that one particular individual ‘has it’ – and are these traits (that are foisted upon youth) truly representative of what we should aspire too. Your poem raises a lot of questions as does the montage of Mann’s photography.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Chris. You bring forward some very interesting points and ideas to ponder. At this moment I suppose that ‘has it’ would be subjective to each individual, while society would attempt to foster and promote a more objective ‘has it’ to suit their motivation and use of the ‘has it’ personality trait. To me Mann’s photo seems to capture an innocent playful moment, however, there has been public criticism of her work. Wishing you a wonderful week ahead, Chris.

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      1. I guess everything comes down to personal perception – even with Mann’s photography – I think that we create our own context for what we see. David Bowie once said something along the lines of how he was amazed at people’s different interpretations of his work. The eye of the beholder…

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