Native Nations: First Americans as seen by Edward S. Curtis

Native Nations: First Americans as seen by Edward S. Curtis

by Christopher Cardozo, Edward S. Curtis

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This stunning collection selects 110 striking photographs taken by Curtis (1868-1952) in his nearly 30-year effort, begun at the turn of the century, to create what Cardozo, a Curtis specialist and photograph dealer, calls ``an irreplaceable photographic and ethnographic record'' of Native Americans. The photographs, reproduced using a new printing technology, are arresting. Portraits like those of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and of a Mohave woman potter show the dignity and endurance of these Americans. Landscape pictures of tepees in winter or a canoe-with-hunter suggest the shadings of a charcoal master and demonstrate Curtis's artistry. The photographs also range over pottery, masked dancers and various ritual objects and are accompanied by Curtis's detailed, stately captions. Some Native Americans have criticized Curtis for stereotypical, stylized images, notes former museum curator Horse Capture, but to him, they are images of beauty, power and pride. Indeed, the portrait of Horse Capture's great-grandfather is another moving epitaph for a lost world. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Although all the photographs in this study have been collected elsewhere, never have the reproductions been of the quality evidenced here. Richard Benson, researcher extraordinaire in print technique, has developed a new method called stochastic screening that produces images with an amazing tonal range and ultrafine resolution. It is a benchmark against which all future photographic reproductions will be measured. As there is limited opportunity to view Curtis's rare 20-volume masterwork, The North American Indian , this book offers an excellent alternative, with images that have the richness of the original photogravures. This purchase is recommended for both its beauty and the uniqueness of its technological innovation.-- Kathy J. Anderson , Indiana Ctr. for Global Business, Indiana Univ., Bloomington
Ray Olson
Practically everyone who has seen a film or illustrated book on the history of North American Indians has seen some of the photographs of Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), an ethnographer when the word was young and obscure. He undertook to document all the North American tribes when he was young and ignorant enough to think it would be a relatively manageable task, 5 or 6 years long and costing $25,000. It took 30 years and $1.5 million instead, expanding in the process to include the making of 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian language and music. The photographs and accompanying descriptive text were eventually published in 20 volumes, from which 110 plates and excerpts have been culled for this handsome oversize book. The cachet of this particular outing for these pictures is that they are reproduced via a new method that allows greater tonal fidelity and resolution than halftone dot generation; these pictures look more like direct prints from negatives. Most impressive.

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Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 14.10(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

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