Recently I read Sally Mann's new memoir, Hold Still. The photographer is probably best known for her controversial series capturing her children's free-spirited childhood on their Virginia farm. "Exploitation" she writes "lies at the root of every great portrait, and all of us know it." Clearly, she is an astute critic too. It's rare, this quality of diving-deep into artistic netherworlds and coming to the surface to scrutinize and unravel. In a sense, to do what she does in Hold Still, one has to be two people: an artist and a critic.
I'm writing this from a "coffice" in London. I'm reminded here of how connected and collaborative the world is now. It's a model that many artists have used in various ways and to varying degrees throughout their working lives. I guess my question boils down to this: Is our collective life beginning to model the once-marginalized lives of artists like Sally Mann?
Like the dual life of the artist-critic, the dual life of the artist-parent shares something in common with the new and increasingly popular collaborative work spaces. Is there a tension between solitude and collaboration in the creative process? How might a parent-friendly collaborative work space look? What kind of intergenerational cross-pollination might be possible in a whole family, home-like environment?