A reader of ours sent a note about the Edward Sherrif Curtis biography that was just published.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan, Amazon has it here.
“Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. And he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared.
An Indiana Jones with a camera, Curtis spent the next three decades traveling from the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the Acoma on a high mesa in New Mexico to the Salish in the rugged Northwest rain forest, documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Eventually Curtis took more than 40,000 photographs, preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.
His most powerful backer was Theodore Roosevelt, and his patron was J. P. Morgan. Despite the friends in high places, he was always broke and often disparaged as an upstart in pursuit of an impossible dream. He completed his masterwork in 1930, when he published the last of the twenty volumes. A nation in the grips of the Depression ignored it. But today rare Curtis photogravures bring high prices at auction, and he is hailed as a visionary. In the end he fulfilled his promise: He made the Indians live forever.”
I think I have established what a fan of Edward Curtis I am by now. I have always associated with obsessive compulsives, more than you good people know.
We have one of his 7 foot portraits hanging in our den.
If you are like me, and you enjoy holding a physical book in your hand, buy it.
If E-books are your thing, (not judging), download it….upload it….whatever it is that you people do to read a book now.
If you liked this post, check out these as well…..
Edward Curtis Portrait free for the taking
Chief Sitting Bear in Our Den