Though best known as fashion icons, whose eponymous Westside shops earn regular praise from the likes of Esquire and Southern Living, Sid and Ann Mashburn are also ardent photography fans. In fact, a portrait of consummate Southern photographer William Eggleston hangs in the Mashburns’ Buckhead home, shot by Eggleston’s cousin Maude Schuyler Clay (a Mississippian like Sid).
On October 7 the couple follows in the footsteps of another well-known Atlantan, HGTV’s Vern Yip, as honorary chairs of Atlanta Celebrates Photography’s 12th annual gala. Held at the Porsche Experience Center, the event will include a silent and live auction of works by Parish Kohanim, Builder Levy, and Carl Martin, among others, to support the ACP, the largest annual community-based photo festival in the United States, which runs throughout October. We spoke with the husband and wife about the role photography plays in their lives.
Ann, early in your career you worked as an assistant to famed Vogue editor Polly Mellen and with a number of prominent photographers—Richard Avedon, Arthur Elgort, Irving Penn. Can you talk about that experience?
Ann: It was amazing…and scary. My first photo shoot was with Steven Meisel. There was loud music and energy—and him with his long dark hair and black cloak. I worked for a major fashion editor so my main goal was always to avoid being yelled at. But in between taping shoes and racing around with the pin cushion, I saw the real work of creativity happen between the editor and the photographer.
What inspired you and Sid to get involved as hosts of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography gala?
Ann: We were very kindly invited. But in addition to that, we love the people, we love the medium, we love Atlanta. We work in an industry where photography is so important. We are constantly trying to convey our message visually, and we know how permanent, meaningful, and fantastic photography can be.
What photographer would you choose to illustrate the Mashburn aesthetic?
Ann: Arthur Elgort. He is all about trying to get what is inside the person to come across in the photo. The whole reason we do what we do is to help people feel amazing on the outside and the inside.
Sid: It’s kind of a cliche, but I love the nature [photography] of Ansel Adams, the ’60s shots from David Bailey and Brian Duffy, the real people of Richard Avedon, the Mississippi of William Eggleston, the landscapes of Edward Steichen, Cartier-Bresson’s France and the color [work] of Koto Bolofo.
Who’s a lesser-known photographer people should have on their radar?
Ann: Jeannette Montgomery Barron is a great friend and defines my New York ’80s experience. All the downtown people she photographed were living in the city when Sid and I were really growing up there together. Something about her point of view takes me back to such a pivotal time in my life. I can almost smell the subway in my memory when I look at some of her photographs.
Highlights of ACP
Paul Graham, Untitled
The High Museum’s Gregory Harris talks with the British photographer about using color film in the 1980s and influencing the genre. October 21, Woodruff Arts Center
Pete Souza, Untitled
The veteran photojournalist, who served as the official photographer in the Reagan and Obama White Houses, discusses capturing the image of the most powerful person in the world. October 3, The Carter Center
John Waters, “Reconstructed Lassie”
In the keynote event, the acclaimed king of camp reflects on his career as an artist and how he uses photography to create “little movies.” October 20, Woodruff Arts Center
Marilyn Minter, “Torrent”
The New York City photographer, whose images explore the “pathology of glamour,” speaks on her work, which has been shown around the world. October 12, Woodruff Arts Center
The monthlong festival includes exhibitions in a MARTA car and along BeltLine trails, a “photo battle,” and a photobook fair. acpinfo.org
This article originally appeared in our October 2017 issue.