Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann:
This early artistic preoccupation with mortality might have been expected given my father’s influence and the art and artifacts of death throughout the house, but still I am surprised, going through my old negatives, to find such clear evidence of it so early on. Now I realize that I misspoke in 2003 during the What Remains exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, when I repeatedly asserted that my photographic exploration of death had begun when my first greyhound, Eva, dropped dead. Clearly I hadn’t taken a look at my old contact sheets, where it is abundantly evident. However, Eva’s death definitely revived it, kicking it into high gear.
She died on Valentine’s Day, 1999, five years to the day after I bought her from a man who had smashed her pelvis by slamming a stall door on her. She was pathetically needy, annoying, and stupid, and I adored her. A graceful creature, despite her injuries, she dropped dead doing what she loved beast: running across the hoary fields one early morning at the farm. Larry carried her to the barn and laid her on a plank, where she froze solid.