Joan Mann Interview

A few years ago, while I was on Staniel Cay working on my film, “Exuma,” I met an amazing woman named Joan Mann. She was already quite elderly at the time but it didn’t seem to have slowed her down much.  She was energetic and inspired and kind and quickly became a friend.  She had sailed down to the islands in the early 60’s on an 18 foot boat with her husband and three young children in search of a simpler life and had lived on the island ever since.  She was an extraordinary woman who was a part of the community for a very long time and was loved by all.

I decided to interview her, not with any particular objective or motivation, but rather to capture a little bit of her story and recollections of early life on the islands while she was still around.  After realizing how much of the island’s history she held, I decided that I should put the interview on disc and make it available to the public at the Staniel Cay Library.  I got caught up however in the seemingly endless sea of video that I was shooting and it fell by the wayside for a few weeks and then a few years.  Joan died last week and, while I wish I had put this interview online earlier, I’ve finally retrieved it from my archive and gotten it posted. My only regret is that I didn’t do subsequent interviews with her to record a little more of her remarkable life.  Our 45 minute interview doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

This interview took place nearly three years ago today in May, 2010 at her home on Staniel Cay.  Our conversation wandered a fair bit so I’ve tried to compile everything into sections that make a little more sense and cut out some of the random questions and disruptions in between.  Other than that, the interview is completely unaltered.  Joan spent a lot of years trying to capture the beauty of the Exumas with a paintbrush and the closing lines of narration in my forthcoming film are inspired by and dedicated to her and her paintings.  I’m sure most people who crossed her path were similarly inspired. If you know anyone who knew Joan, please pass this along to them.

23 thoughts on “Joan Mann Interview”

  1. This is my mother-in-law. It’s a treat to have access to this footage. Joan’s “Celebration of Life” will be in Staniel Cay on 1st June 2013 at the local church. The community will be putting on a spread of food after the service under the almond tree, as is typically done for celebrations, weddings and funerals.

    We have many family members gathering in Staniel Cay for the service and will have a family dinner the night prior to the service where we plan to play these interviews so all the family can see them. I’m sure there will be lots of laughter and tears.

    Thank you for bringing Joanie back to life for us.

    1. That makes me so happy! Wish I could be there for the celebration. I’m sure it will be lovely and I’m so glad that you’ll be able to play these videos for everyone. Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is, and will remain, a family treasure.

    Jane Terrell, another of Joan’s daughters-in-law

  3. I happened to be at Staniel Cay while the celebration was taking place! Beautiful service! I wish I could have met her. Rest in peace, Joan! Thanks for bringing the Exumas to us through your work.

  4. Hey Colin! I come back to this often…..of course always brings tears to my eyes just reading what you wrote about my Mom. I don’t even get to the videos and I’m a blubbering mess 🙂
    You and I have spoken many times privately so I want to publicly thank you for the tribute to Mom and for posting the clips on your website.
    I am one of the many axiously awaiting the Exuma release…..and congrats on being a Travel Photographer of the Year finalist!

    Laura Mann

    1. I’m so glad that I was able to do that interview with her and that it ended up being something meaningful for you and your family. Thanks a lot for taking the time to let me know. And thanks for wishing me luck in the competition too! I’ll keep you posted on Exuma. It won’t be long now…

      1. Hi Colin. Your interview with Joan is alive and well! She seems to have been an amazing woman. A true pioneer who seems to have set out for a new life – and she discovered gold! -The kind of gold that can be easily shared with enough to go around for everyone – and never runs dry. Thank you for having an insight/foresight many do not recognize nor hold dear. You know my heart in this… A greatful “Friend” and Kindred Spirit. Best wishes in all you do. Your efforts do not -and will not go unrecognized! Lori in Minnesota

        1. I have a feeling Joan knows, and is watching EXUMA- (with my Dad).They’re waiting for your next film! As are MANY of us. Stop and “catch your breath” and be amazed at your next creation! Let them inspire you. Your talent is amazing!

  5. Oh, Joan (Joanie) as I liked to call her was so dear (is) so dear to me, brought alive again in memory and vision. Thank you for capturing bits of her for us.

  6. Priscilla (Charlie) Ellingsen

    Thank you Colin. I did have the pleasure of knowing Joan and visiting her at Staniel Cay as well as her dear friend Mary Lowe on Black Point. Brought back so many memories.

  7. Thanks for your wonderful videos with Joan Mann.
    We spent a Sun. afternoon with her in her home in Staniel Cay and took a beautiful painting of a pink Bahamian house back to our sailboat in our little dinghy.
    The pink house lives in the prime viewing spot in our home near Picton Ontario now.
    Meeting and chatting with Joan for an afternoon is a memorable Bahamian memory from the 6 winters we spent in the Bahamas.

    1. Thanks Jim. I’m really glad that people who knew her can find these videos keep her memory alive. Thanks for commenting.

    1. Sorry for the long delay in responding – I just saw this. That’s so cool! I’m sure the family would love to see it. If it’s appropriate, I’d be happy to post it on the Exuma Facebook page as well.

      1. So sweet that this should pop up in my inbox today. Tomorrow is Joan’s birthday– she would have been 91. I always imagined her, even,at 91, still holding court on the island she loved. Thanks for helping keep her memory alive.

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