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The Photograph and the American Indian
     

The Photograph and the American Indian

by Alfred L. Bush, Lee C. Mitchell, Lee Clark Mitchell (With)
 

In this first major book to present a comprehensive look at photographs of Indians by both Native and Anglo Americans, from 1840 to the present, we are offered a compelling array of images reproduced with exacting respect for the physical qualities of the photograph as a document. Alfred Bush and Lee Mitchell help us see these photographs not only as historical

Overview

In this first major book to present a comprehensive look at photographs of Indians by both Native and Anglo Americans, from 1840 to the present, we are offered a compelling array of images reproduced with exacting respect for the physical qualities of the photograph as a document. Alfred Bush and Lee Mitchell help us see these photographs not only as historical artifacts but as rich texts that describe their makers as tellingly as their subjects. More than three hundred images relate an important tale of the intrusion of technology into the traditional life of the American Indian, and the political uses both Native Americans and Anglo Americans found for the photograph.

These photographs reveal the many agendas of both photographers and American Indians. From images pandering to popular stereotypes to ones that catch troubling realities, these photographs encourage us to consider the photographic enterprise from various perspectives, including those of Native Americans. Contradicting the common notion that Native American photographers are a recent phenomenon, Indians make their appearance as photographers in this work as early as the 1880s with portrayals as varied and conflicted as any by Anglo Americans. The exciting dynamics among multiple American cultures encountering each other through art and technology is masterfully documented here. The text provides authoritative dating of the photographs, biographies of the photographers, and an extensive bibliography. This is a treasurehouse for readers with interests in Native Americans and their history and in the history of photography.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

". . . combines exacting scholarship with excellent reproductions. . . . visually satisfying and academically fulfilling."--Bloomsbury Review

"At turns depressing and exhilarating, this beautiful collection is instructive in its use of images made by both whites and American Indians, reminding us that self-determination must mean having some say in how one's story or face is retailed to others."--Albert Mobilio, New York Newsday

"This book documents the relationship between the camera and the American Indian over the past 150 years. A tool of the invaders, cameras were used to explore exotic civilizations and create saleable studio portraits. Later generations used the camera to "prove" the value of Westernizing the Native American and to record anthropological data. In this century, Indians used the camera to examine their own cultures and to explore the difficulty of straddling two worlds, the traditional and the modern. The editors of the book have a real sensitivity to these pictures."--Douglas Balz, Chicago Tribune

"This book provides the most complete and balanced survey available on the photography of North American Indians."--Library Journal

"These varied pictures of Native Americans constitute an important, complicated, disturbing, but ultimately moving visual accounting of the transformation of Indian life, a sort of museum of cultural contact and cultural survival. . . . Each photograph represents a story, represents some lost historical moment and narratve . . . contains a world of information and the complicated legacy of Indian-white contact. . . . [this] collectionof images of native peoples is at once intimate, powerful and moving, demanding that the reader think about the meaning of the images."--The Boston Book Review

"The Photograph and the American Indian examines and explodes racial stereotypes while presenting an extraordinary visual record through 150 years. Three-quarters of these images have never been reproduced before, and nearly one quarter are by Native Americans. . . . They stand on their own as images--beautiful, powerful, and dangerous--of a world we have misunderstood, and of the depth of our misunderstanding."--Times Literary Supplement

Library Journal
The authors, all Princeton faculty, organized a 1985 exhibition on which this book is based. Over 300 images span 150 years of photographs of North American Indians, including those in Mexico and the Arctic; nearly one quarter of the images are by American Indian photographers, beginning in the 1880s. A scholarly essay by Mitchell precedes the plates, which have been arranged in roughly chronological order and are fully captioned with photographer, phtographer's dates, title, phtograph's date, process, and collection source. The high-quality reproductions are faithful to the originals, and the most valuable images are those that document genuine Indian ceremonies, family settings, dress, tools, and postures. This book provides the most complete and balanced survey available on the photography of North American Indians. Highly recommended for ethnic studies, history, and history of photography collections.-Kathleen Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691034898
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/06/1994
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
9.65(w) x 11.36(h) x 1.06(d)

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