Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) left an incrdelible mark on the history of photography in his 20-volume life's work, The North American Indian.
His work consists of 4,000 pages of photographs, selected from 40,000 negatives taken within 30 years (from 1890 until 1920).
Around the beginning of 20th Century, Seattle born Edward S. Curtis went to west to document the North American Indian tribes unknown to the Anglo world.
"Take a good look. We're not going to see this kind of thing much longer. It already belongs to the past."
~ George Bird Grinnell to Edward S. Curtis, referring to the Sun Dance gathering of Blackfeet, Algonquin, and Bloods in 1900.
He had stayed with 80 different North American Indian tribes such as Navaros, Apaches and Siouxs for thirty years, photographing and documenting their daily lives in detail.
It took long time to North American Indian tribes to accept him amongst themselves. As his reputation grew in time, their perception about him had started to change.
Part photographic essay, part ethnographic survey, and part work of art, Curtis' North American Indian Project represented an attempt to capture images of North American natives as they lived before contact with Anglo cultures.
The photogravure prints of the North American Indian people whose traditional ways of life were coming to an end as the US frontier began to fade.
He has photographed many chiefs amongst important personalities such as Apache Chief Geronimo and Sioux Chiefs Red Cloud.
Thirty years of gruelling work on the North American Indian Project cost the artist his marriage and his health.
50 years after his death, in the 70s, another photographer named Christopher Cardoza has followed his foot steps and started to reveal his long-forgotten work. He has managed to collect most of Curtis' collection.
Edward S. Curtis' indispensable work he left behind is regarded as the first anthropological documentary ever made.
Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)
All images : Copyrighted - Edward S. Curtis