Post by Diane Merkel on Jun 28, 2008 10:52:50 GMT -5
Here's an excerpt from a nice mini-bio of Curtis:
During those 30 years (twice the time he had originally planned for the project), Curtis visited more than 80 tribes, from the Apache to the Zuñi, and earned the personal support of the president, Theodore Roosevelt. He worked 15-hour days for months at a time, spent more than $1.5 million of his benefactor JP Morgan's money, was shot at four times, disowned by his brother, divorced by his wife, and went bankrupt. On returning from one prolonged trip into Eskimo territory he was thrown into jail for failure to make alimony payments.
Yet Curtis was indefatigable: no amount of adversity could sap his passion for documenting the traditions of a people who didn't always want to be documented. "I have grown so used to having people yell at me to keep out, and then punctuate their remarks with mud, rock and clubs," he once said, "that I pay but little attention to them if I can only succeed in getting my picture before something hits me."
A treasury of over 5000+ high resolution photographs of native American Indians taken between 1907 and 1930 by the renowned historian Edward S. Curtis, along with 44 chants and songs, books and text and 7 absorbing historic films that provide a never-before insight into the lives of native American Indians.
Curtis' photographs are very good, as is the text of his book. You have to treat the pictures with caution however as they were often posed and the subjects put in costumes that were not contemporary in order to re-create a "golden age".
Edward S. Curtis, as well as a number of other photographers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, often used studio "props" to enhance the marketabilty of their photographs.
The following portaits made by Curtis are a good example.
These men are all wearing the same hide shirt, with the same beadwork pattern. Just goes to show that you can't always believe the cultural accuracy of some old photos, especially the studio portraits.
Short Log (Two Kettle) 1907
Eagle Elk (Oglala) 1907
He Crow (Oglala) 1907
Little Hawk (Brule) 1907
Spotted Elk (Brule) 1907
Little Dog (Brule) 1907
Yellow Horse (Yanktonai) 1908
Good Voice Hawk (Yanktonai) 1908
Flying Shield (Yanktonai) 1908
Yellow Hawk (Yanktonai) 1908
Last Edit: Feb 9, 2009 18:50:17 GMT -5 by Historian
"Be good, be kind, help each other." "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other." --Abe Conklin - Ponca/Osage, (1926-1995)
The shirt worn in these photographs is currently in the collections of the Horniman Museum, UK. It was on display back in 2006 at least. I don't believe the museum has any documentation that it belonged to Edward Curtis, but it is definitely the same shirt.
Post by Diane Merkel on Nov 27, 2019 10:46:01 GMT -5
Excerpt from the article, "Edward S. Curtis & Paul Unks: Guardians Of The Past, Conserving A Culture":
By 1995 [Paul] Unks was teaching at the University of Denver. One day, after casually mentioning Edward Curtis’ work during class, a student asked if he had seen the original Curtis prints in the university library. He had not.
Visiting the university’s Penrose Library later he discovered not just “some original Curtis prints,” but a pristine, complete edition of Edward Curtis’ The North American Indian.
“I’ve examined Curtis’ prints and occasionally a portfolio in many libraries, so I have a pretty good frame of reference,” Unks said. “When Denver’s photo curator put the first of their 20 portfolios on the table, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
This Moroccan leather-bound portfolio had been protected from sunlight and humidity in the library’s climate-controlled vault since it was given to the university in 1938. “How beautiful they were, how perfectly-preserved,” he said, “tears came to my eyes.”