Lee Mar­mon,

Pasatiempo - - IN OTHER WORDS -

around the far reaches of the reser­va­tion in Mar­mon’s Jeep CJ-5 and meet­ing new peo­ple in and around the reser­va­tion.

“One day he showed me his pho­to­graphs,” Cor­bett said. “I had never seen such beau­ti­ful por­traits of Na­tive Amer­i­cans. Back in the 1960s, these peo­ple were in their eight­ies, nineties, even their hun­dreds. It dawned on me he was do­ing some­thing no one had done be­fore. He was doc­u­ment­ing the lives of his own pueblo and the way peo­ple had lived on the reser­va­tion in the 1900s and even in the late 1800s. That’s when the idea for the book first came in my mind.”

Cor­bett headed back to Michi­gan in 1966. Around the same time, Mar­mon left the pueblo for Palm Springs, where he had been hired as the chief pho­tog­ra­pher for the Bob Hope Desert Clas­sic golf tour­na­ment. “I met a lot of golfers and movie stars, Eisen­hower and Nixon, and all the pres­i­dents of the era,” Mar­mon said. “But since they didn’t golf in the sum­mer due to heat, I came back to La­guna ev­ery sum­mer till I re­turned full-time in 1982.”

The two men rekin­dled their friend­ship in the 1980s, as Cor­bett helped build the pho­tog­ra­pher’s emerg­ing na­tional and in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion through a side­line busi­ness pub­lish­ing el­e­gant poster prints of Mar­mon’s pho­tos of Engine Rock and the pueblo’s Buf­falo Dancers. The poster project also rekin­dled talk of the his­tory book. “Back in the 1990s, Lee came to visit my wife and me in Ann Ar­bor, and I saw that as an op­por­tu­nity to get the sto­ries be­hind all these pho­to­graphs. So I sat him down and stuck a mi­cro­phone in front of him. He’s a great sto­ry­teller,” Cor­bett said. “Over the years, ev­ery time he told his sto­ries I would write them down or record them.”

This isn’t the first book-length col­lec­tion of Mar­mon’s work. In 2003, he re­leased The Pue­blo Imag­i­na­tion: Land­scape and Me­mory in the Pho­tog­ra­phy of Lee Mar­mon ,which paired his pho­tos with writ­ing

from Na­tive Amer­i­can po­ets Joy Harjo and Si­mon Or­tiz and from his daugh­ter, nov­el­ist Les­lie Mar­mon Silko.

The por­trait sec­tion of the lat­est book in­cludes many of Mar­mon’s most fa­mil­iar im­ages, such as

White Man’s Moc­casins , a 1954 photo of eighty­five-year-old La­guna Mis­sion care­taker Jeff “Old Man Jeff” Sousea. He wears tra­di­tional dress — thick strands of beads, a wide head­band knot­ted off to the side — but sports a pair of worn Con­verse high tops. Among the other knock­out im­ages are por­traits of famed pot­ter Juanita Quicero, taken four years be­fore her death at age one hun­dred and seven, and farmer/ rancher/dancer San­ti­ago Thomas. Mar­mon’s pho­to­graphs of sheep­herders, blue-corn shuck­ers, and Ea­gle Dancers are here as well, each marked by their stun­ning com­po­si­tion and re­veal­ing in­ti­macy.

The book’s pic­tures of the pueblo’s St. Joseph’s Feast Day are vis­ually ar­rest­ing. In one photo, cov­ered wag­ons, driven by mem­bers of other pueb­los, and sev­eral Nava­jos who trav­eled hun­dreds of miles on horse­back, sur­round a meadow in La­guna. Though the scene looks like it comes from the mid­dle of the 19th cen­tury, the shot was taken in 1949, one of the last years that lo­cal tribes drove their cov­ered wag­ons to La­guna for the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion. “I didn’t re­al­ize how soon some of the old ways would dis­ap­pear,” Mar­mon writes. “Men went off to war and parts of the world they never dreamed they would see and prob­a­bly had never heard of — and many never came back.”

Mar­mon spoke of a lin­ger­ing re­gret. “Back in the 1940s, I used to know where ev­ery­body on the reser­va­tion lived. I drove around in a stripped-down Model A pickup, and I would al­ways have a dog sit­ting next to me in the pas­sen­ger seat,” Mar­mon said. “But since I was the pho­tog­ra­pher, no­body ever got my pic­ture.”

Lee Mar­mon: Eagel Dancer #1, 1962; top, left to right, Juanita Quicero , 1961; Lee An­to­nio #2 , 1992; J ohn Ri­ley , 1950; 0ppo­site page, Blue Corn , 1949; im­ages cour­tesy Univer­sity of New Mex­ico Press

Group Dancers on the Plaza , 1962

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