Friday Inspiration

20 08 2010

Beautiful photographs of Native American people by Edward S. Curtis from early twentieth century.

It was an amazing experience that B and I got to explore Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana on our road trip.  I cherished seeing the exquisite landscapes, historical sites and lots of special little museums.  I’m so fascinated by Native American history and culture.  I feel that my Asian/Thai background has many things in common with native American people such as weaving techniques, cooking tools and fabric embroidering.  I have some of these images in my sketch book.  Aren’t these photos breath taking?

I was really surprised to learn more that J.P. Morgan commissioned Curtis in 1906 for $75,000 to produce a series on the North American Indian.   It was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs.  Morgan was to receive 25 sets and 500 original prints as his method of repayment. 222 complete sets were eventually published. Curtis’ goal was not just to photograph, but to document, as much American Indian (Native American) traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared. He wrote in the introduction to his first volume in 1907: “The information that is to be gathered … respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost.” Curtis made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian language and music. He took over 40,000 photographic images from over 80 tribes. He recorded tribal lore and history, and he described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs. He wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders, and his material, in most cases, is the only recorded history.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Posted by Modi

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One response

20 08 2010
photographyfree4all

Thanks for this post and these shots. Great information.

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