Winner of PRIX PICTET FIRE is the American photographer Sally Mann who was presented with the award in December 2021 at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum for her series Blackwater (2008–2012). The series is a multifaceted exploration of the devastating wildfires that enveloped the Great Dismal Swamp in southeastern Virginia, where the first slave ships docked in America.
In this work, Mann draws a parallel between the all-consuming wildfires she encountered there with racial conflict in America, explaining “The fires in the Great Dismal Swamp seemed to epitomize the great fire of racial strife in America – the Civil War, emancipation, the Civil Rights Movement, in which my family was involved, the racial unrest of the late 1960s and most recently the summer of 2020. Something about the deeply flawed American character seems to embrace the apocalyptic as solution.”
Sally Mann is known for her photographs of intimate and familiar subjects rendered both sublime and disquieting. Born in Lexington, Virginia, Mann began studying photography in the 1960s, attending Ansel Adams Gallery’s workshops in Yosemite National Park, and Putney School and Bennington College, both in Vermont. She received a BA from Hollins College, Virginia, as well as an MA in creative writing. A Thousand Crossings, Mann’s recent exhibition, explores the identity of the American South and Mann’s relationship with her place of origin. It debuted at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in 2018 and travelled extensively. In 2001, Mann was named America’s Best Photographer by Time magazine. Mann’s Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs (Little, Brown, 2015) received critical acclaim; it was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Awards and won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.
Exhibition period: April 21 – May 07, 2023
Venue: Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, Braubachstr. 30–32, 60311 Frankfurt