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Mary Salen

Photographer and writer Mary Salen describes her art and this series poetically:

"Beginning a new project is like circling a walled city with a grappling hook and deciding where to enter.  Always, before I let loose my hook, before the camera or the pen, I reflect on Ernest Hemingway, who tells us, 'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'

And I snap that picture."

This remarkable project tells a true story.  It is a story of childhood trauma and the artist’s understanding of the superstition, misogyny, bullying, and bigotry of the institutions and the individuals who traumatize girls and women. It is about male supremacy, Catholicism, hypocrisy, sexual violence, and the formal and informal ways in which society justifies and enforces social and political inequality. It is about an America in which the nation's highest authority bases its decisions about essential human rights on a sliver of right-wing ideology and fundamentalist Christian mythology. It is also about speaking out.


In images and words, Mary Salen says it clearly. To anyone who thinks her story is hard to hear, true stories often are.  To anyone who thinks that true stories should be silenced, a big part of this story is you.

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