Alibi V.12 No.50 • Dec 11-17, 2003 

Art Article

The Pueblo Imagination: Landscape and Memory in the Photography of Lee Marmon

Leslie Marmon Silko, Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz
Beacon 150
hardcover
$35

As a 10-year-old growing up on Laguna Pueblo, Lee Marmon earned his first money—a whopping $2—photographing a truck wreck for a local insurance company. It took many years for him to realize his dream of working as a full-time professional photographer.

Marmon went on to become the country's most famous Native American photographer. Over the years his work has appeared in Time, the New York Times Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Until now, though, his photographs have never appeared in a book.

The Pueblo Imagination collects some of Marmon's very best images associated with New Mexico's Pueblo people. These photographs feature austere yet gorgeous images of missions, ruins, mesas and individual Native Americans.

The book is greatly enhanced by writings from Marmon's famous novelist daughter—Leslie Marmon Silko, of Ceremony fame—as well as Native American poets Simon Ortiz and Joy Harjo. "Consider that the world is neither flat nor round," writes Harjo on a wide, white page facing a dramatic photograph taken from the top of Acoma Pueblo's Enchanted Mesa.

As usual, Ortiz is more grounded, less metaphysical. On a page facing a rare color photograph of Engine Rock, Ortiz discusses in simple terms the first time he saw that awesome structure as a kid.

The Pueblo Imagination is one of those rare photography books that's just as fun to read as it is to look at its pretty pictures.