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Mike Lee

June-August 2022

A Seeing Eye’s Photographs of Montana 


My passion for photography was born of friends and experiences on foreign shores. In 1969, I was captured by the images of people and influenced by emerging concerns with social justice. To capture people and places on film I needed the ability to take photos suddenly. As opportunities to take photos are ephemeral, they are there one moment and gone the next. As a result, a 35mm camera toting street photographer was born. 


As a self-trained amateur, photography is all about the composition in the moment. A situation must first stir my heart and soul, after which the camera must be quickly adjusted to mirror and capture an image. While photography is a solo performance, a collage of photos may have a seeming symphonic dimension. 


This photo exhibit is of Montana people and places taken in a half dozen counties, and is a partial journal of my interests and travels. Other photographic exhibits were of Liberia, Vietnam veterans, urban and rural landscapes. A 2019 exhibit, taken mostly in San Francisco, focused on the issue of human loneliness. 


I began taking photos on a 1969 Vietnam tour and continued after returning to Billings. In the mid 1970s, I focused my camera on the people and landscapes of Liberia and to a lesser extent Mali. My Liberia photos are archived by Stanford University Libraries. My Vietnam Veteran portraits are archived by the Montana Military Museum at Fort Harrison. I firmly believe that for artistic expression to have value it must be shared far and wide with the public. 


I am grateful for opportunities the Lewis and Clark County Library has availed me to exhibit my photographs. At the center of our community, the Library is where I and others can share our interests with the public. 


The photos in this exhibit may be acquired. Purchases will result in contributions to the Lewis and Clark County Library.  The price for each framed photograph is $500. Please send purchase inquiries to: email gvarnga@msn.com or to P.O. Box 1013, Helena, Montana 59624.  


In lieu of a reception, I will do interpretative sessions for small groups. To arrange a session please contact me or the Library’s Suzanne Schwichtenberg  (406 447 6681). 


-Michael H. Lee 

The Lewis & Clark Library displays art made by the community around the library. If you are interested in exhibiting your work, please contact Suzanne at 406-447-6681 or suzanne@lclibrary.org.