All images (c) Lee Mann Photography, reproduction prohibited without written consent. www.leemannphotography.com
In one of Lee’s final public appearances before passing away in July 2011, before a meeting of the Skagit Land Trust in Anacortes, Lee Mann related a mountain epiphany from his youth. His son Bryce Mann, who carries on his father’s work at the Lee Mann Studio in Sedro Woolley, kindly offered his consent to quote Lee here.
55 years ago, Lee Mann climbed to Sahale Arm above Cascade Pass. He slept under the stars. Next morning hawks are soaring on the ridges, and one lands near him…
“…about 10 or 12 feet above my head. And he looked in my eyes, and we had this little exchange. I looked at him and he looked at me, and it seemed to go on for a long time. And finally he’s seen enough, and he took to his wings. I thought “That’s really amazing!” And I sat up, and here were these beautiful mountains all around, and it was a crystal morning, and a dew had settled overnight, and every blade of grass, every piece of heather was covered with millions and millions of diamonds. And I was sitting there in this wonderland with millions of diamonds around me! And here I was – I had it all to myself, it was all mine! And suddenly something in my heart just changed. And I knew that my life was going to be different from there on out. I knew that my life was going to have something to do with the mountains.” -Lee Mann
About the photos presented here:
It is a real honor to work with Lee Mann‘s photographs. Captions are by the photographer, as per typed labels on the back of the prints, with slight editing by Tom Hammond (in parenthesis). Tom arranged these photos in sequence–they detail a (North to South) trip through the crystalline core of the North Cascades–The Ptarmigan Traverse. The pictures themselves were in Patrick Goldsworthy‘s conservation collection. They are 16×20″ black and white prints Lee must have developed and printed himself in the early 1960s. We can infer this because the type-written (yellowing) labels on the backs of each mounted photo refer to the “Glacier Peak Wilderness” which became law in 1964. Lee sold the prints at that time for $6.50 each–that is penciled on the back labels! It is unclear if he gave the pictures to Patrick Goldsworthy, or if Patrick bought them, but clearly they were used to promote protection in/for the North Cascades. Each photo has tape residue on the back, indicating they were displayed unframed in some manner. Please enjoy these fantastic photos from one of the great places/alpine traverses on the planet, from one of our best local photographers! -Tom Hammond, March 2014