Indian Lives: A Photographic Record from the Civil War to Wounded Knee

Indian Lives: A Photographic Record from the Civil War to Wounded Knee

by Ulrich W. Hiesinger
     
 

This book presents a selection of powerful photographs of North American Indians, not simply as adjuncts to a historical discourse, but as visually compelling images in their own right. Coinciding with the beginnings of photography in the field, the period covered here—c. 1861 to 1890—witnessed the end of unhindered traditional life for most Native Americans… See more details below

Overview

This book presents a selection of powerful photographs of North American Indians, not simply as adjuncts to a historical discourse, but as visually compelling images in their own right. Coinciding with the beginnings of photography in the field, the period covered here—c. 1861 to 1890—witnessed the end of unhindered traditional life for most Native Americans. Contemporary cameras captured that vanishing life with startling immediacy, a full generation before Edward Curtis began taking his famous series of photographs. The early photographers, among them such well-known figures as William Henry Jackson and Alexander Gardner, were clearly fascinated by the historical spectacle, at once romantic and brutal, unfolding before their eyes and documented its various aspects in both posed and candid shots. In an introduction the author places the photographs in the contexts of White American expansion and Indian culture, and discusses the means and aims of photography at the time. In a series of narratives, organized thematically around certain tribes and their activities or around outstanding historical events, Hiesinger goes on to provide a background for the interpretation of the individual images. Biographical notes on the photographers, a map, a chronology, and a bibliography complete a volume that brings the reader into intimate contact with a critical period of American history.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
America's fascination with its Native peoples was immediately reflected in the new profession of photography in the mid-19th-century. Hiesinger (Impressionism in America, LJ 8/91) engagingly discusses early interactions between photographers and their Native subjects. He uses their photographs to illustrate several historic events and personal vignettes, such as "Minnesota Uprising, 1862," "Warriors," and "Pawnee Village," and provides sympathetic, informative accounts in each area. Illustrations are almost entirely from the Plains, with a single segment from the Southwest. Though well reproduced, most of the pictures are familiar. While appropriate for general readers, this work is overshadowed by Alfred L. Bush and Lee Clark Mitchell's The Photograph and the American Indian (LJ 1/95).-Mary B. Davis, Huntington Free Lib., New York
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-Hiesinger provides a visual chronicle of the changing lifestyles of Native Americans during the period cited in the title. It is compelling in its ability to make readers feel what the Native peoples were experiencing at that time. The frontier photographers, or ``shadow catchers,'' as they were called by the Indians, pictorially documented such experiences as dance, camp scenes, ceremonials, and other cultural events. This book is for serious students of photography, and is a must for anyone interested in Indian culture. It's an irreplaceable record of that history.-Julia Hoffmann, R.E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9783791314228
Publisher:
Prestel Verlag GmbH & Co KG.
Publication date:
10/01/1994
Pages:
139
Product dimensions:
9.25(w) x 12.02(h) x 0.91(d)

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