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Marmon, Lee

"Acoma Mission, 1952" Photograph by Lee Marmon

Lee Marmon is America’s best known and most widely respected Native American photographer.   For the past fifty years, Lee Marmon has used the magic and power of his camera lens to immortalize the noble spirit and enduring legacy of his elder tribes people in his native Laguna, New Mexico. The passing of time has turned his prolific collection of rare and high quality photographs – both portraits and landscapes – into a breathtaking album of images that he proudly calls, “Visions of My People.” Mr. Marmon’s original negatives are now in the Museum of New Mexico’s collection.

 
Today, at age 87, Lee Marmon is still driven by his love and passion for his craft. From his photography studios in Laguna, New Mexico, Lee personally produces and signs each high-quality print from its original negative, using time-tested, professional darkroom techniques. Mr. Marmon was awarded SWAIA’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. This honor selects practitioners in the Indian arts and culture for a lifetime of outstanding work. The award celebrates and pays homage to those unique individuals who, through their singular passion, creativity, and commitment to excellence in their crafts, have created a legacy of exceptional integrity that will inspire future generations of native artists.   A collection of Mr. Marmon’s prints hang in the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology at Phillips Academy, Adover, Massachusetts.

 
Lee Marmon was born on the Laguna reservation in New Mexico in 1925, and has lived there for most of his life. He bought his first camera at the age of 25, and made an early practice of shooting portrait images of the aging senior members of his Laguna tribe, and neighboring tribes, including the Acoma tribe in New Mexico. His distinguished collection of thousands of black and white images have since become a national historical and cultural treasure, as they comprise a rare visual chronicle of the last generation of Native Americans to live by their traditional ways and values. His best-known photograph, “White Man’s Moccasins,” (1954) has been reproduced and published worldwide.   From the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s, Mr. Marmon lived and worked in California, where he served as official photographer for the Bob Hope Desert Classic. His images have appeared in various national publications, including The New York Times and Time Magazine. In 1992, he won an ADDY Award for contributing to the Peabody Award-Winning PBS-TV documentary, “Surviving Columbus”.   (From the Lee Marmon Website)

 

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