Edward S. Curtis

Studying a series of photographs by Edward S. Curtis taken in the late 19th and the early 20th century brings me to the following conclusion (with all respect for his artistic abilities): The American historian although famous is perhaps identified for his distressing depiction of traditional American Indian culture ever presented. Published between 1907 and 1930, Curtis visual analysis of about 80 tribes was recorded and over a thousand illustrations are out there. Saddened about the degrading manner at which their existence was being erroneously interpreted by Curtis’ somewhat pictorial depiction my artistic focus was re-directed. Spending countless hours on the Internet, by studying at length the photographs to better situate myself in their shoe imagining the degradation felt by the native Indians at the time- posing for the fictitious pictures. The exhaustive body of work by Curtis portrays unfairly the characteristic of these people. Carefully placed artifacts and strategically positioned backgrounds at the studio removed all traces of authenticity to the nature of the natives. The documentation however important lacks authenticity.

They deserve better, they deserve to not be forgotten. So I took my pencil and began to draw them hoping I could give them back their pride and dignity.