Plains Indian Photographs

Edward Sheriff Curtis, Photographer, Edward Sheriff Curtis, Author
Edward Sheriff Curtis, Photographer, Edward Sheriff Curtis, Author University of Nebraska Press $50 (186p) ISBN 978-0-8032-1512-2
Reviewed on: 05/01/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
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Famous, iconic and oft-maligned, The Plains Indians Photographs of Edward S. Curtis, taken in the early 20th century, are here winnowed to a tiny fraction of their bulk and considered within their artistic and cultural contexts by scholars Martha H. Kennedy, Martha A. Sandweiss, Mick Gidley and Duane Niatum. However one feels about Curtis's project, it's hard not to be impressed by its scope: The North American Indian, which constitutes about one-third of his total oeuvre, consists of 20 volumes of large photogravures and 20 volumes of illustrated text on more than 80 tribal groups which the 91 photos here can only begin to suggest. Kennedy notes ""a widespread tendency to regard Plains Indians as representative... of all American Indians."" Sandweiss describes how Curtis conceived of himself ""as the Herodotus of a dying race"" in his systematic cataloguing of his subjects. (Aug. 23)
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