Joanna Cohan Scherer - Edward Sheriff Curtis
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HB, 128 pages
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Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) is best known for his outstanding documentary record of the North American Indian tribes from the first decades of the twentieth century. His portrayal of their ceremonies and daily work, his mesmerizing close-up portraits, and his powerful landscapes of the American West were intended to serve as an anthropological resource on a ''vanishing race''. Curtis’s project was published in The North American Indian, a series of luxurious volumes funded by financier J.P. Morgan and President Theodore Roosevelt. These remain among the most collectible and sought-after photobooks in the history of the medium. The American Indian cultures have not disappeared altogether as Curtis feared, but his project’s success lies in its powerful record of faces and places that mark a bygone era in American history. His photographs, which portray over 80 separate tribes, are marked by dramatic lighting, sensitivity, and beauty. This introductory monograph includes a range of portraits, landscapes, and pictures from around the American West alongside examples of Curtis s studio portraiture, which was more typical of the Pictorialist photography of his time. This is the perfect book for students and enthusiasts of early twentieth-century photography, history, anthropology, and Native American culture.