Mystic Photographer's Work To Be Featured On Postage Stamp

The Hartford Courant

For the last 30 years, Michael Melford of Mystic has traveled the world for National Geographic magazine, taking pictures of historic sites and natural wonders.

Now Melford reached a new plateau in his artistic career: One of his photos has become a postage stamp. The 85-cent stamp was issued by theU.S. Postal Servicethis month.

"For 85 cents, you can own one of my original artworks," Melford joked in a phone interview. "For another 15 cents, I'll autograph it for you."

The stamp is good for postage up to 1 ounce to Canada or Mexico. It also may be used for 2-ounce domestic first-class mail. It was dedicated on Jan. 19 in Kalispell, Mont. Melford was on assignment and could not attend the ceremony.

The lovely scene, which looks as much like a painting than it does a photo, was taken on July 3, 2011, at Glacier National Park in Montana, during a photo shoot for the magazine. Melford is a contract photgrapher.

"There's a road up there that goes over the Continental Divide. It's called Going-to-the-Sun Road. At the very summit of it is Logan Pass," Melford said. "I went up there and saw all these beautiful glacier lilies. I was shooting them, and then I turned around and saw this scene and photographed it."

He said he initially didn't like the light in the photo — "it was a little misty" — and went back the next day for another shot, but by then the area was closed to visitors due to concerns over the sensitivity of the environment.

"So I got lucky to get the photo at all," he said. "And then they not only used it in the magazine, it ended up being a stamp."

Melford, who said his hero is legendary nature photographer Ansel Adams, didn't know it was being considered by the postal service until after it was submitted by the magazine.

Among the other places Melford has traveled for the magazine are Yemen, Civil War battlefields, Bristol Bay, Alaska, and National Parks including Glacier, Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia and Death Valley.

Mark Saunders, a spokesman for the Postal Service, said each year, 40,000 artworks are considered for use on stamps. Twenty to 25 make the cut. The selections are narrowed down by a Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee and ultimately chosen by the Postmaster General.

Saunders said images of American natural beauty are often chosen for international stamps. "We're showcasing America to people overseas," he said.

To see more of Melford's work, visit For more information about newly issued stamps, visit, where the Postal Service posts background on stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.

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