|Norfolk Public Library||Sargeant Memorial Collection||Norfolk Memories|
Harry C. Mann (1866 - 1926)
Harry C. Mann was born on 8 June 1866 in Petersburg, Virginia, to Honorable Judge Edwin and Pattie B. Mann. Judge Mann sat on Petersburg's Hustings Court while his wife raised their many children at home including Harry. We do not know much about Harry's life outside of his professional career as a photographer or what led him to choose photography as a career. The first mention of Harry Mann working as a photographer was the 1907 Jamestown Exposition here in Norfolk where his brother James secured him a position with the Jamestown Exposition Photographic Corporation. Their sole purpose was to take all the official photographs for the event and make copies to sell to the public. It seems Harry Mann learned the photography profession in the darkrooms and from the fellow photographers with the Jamestown Photographic Corporation.
His skills progressed and his passion increased when he begun taking countless photographs of the Atlantic Ocean and the natural beauty around the Cape Henry area. He loved taking photographs of unspoiled sand dunes and seascapes of Virginia Beach. His photographs won awards and recognition in London, New York, and Paris. The National Geographic even published his photographs in their 1915 through 1918 issues. He settled in Norfolk with his brother James in 1909 and became the most respected commercial photographer in Norfolk from 1909 to 1924 after his health begun to rapidly decline and had to give up his photography. He died in Lynchburg, Virginia, on 12 December 1926 and was buried in the family's plot in Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg, Virginia. His work was largely forgotten until Norfolk photographers like Carroll Walker 50 years later brought his photographs back into the attention of the public.
Written by W. Troy Valos, December 2010.