Sunday, May 17, 2015

Indian Camp

Today's picture shows two Native Americans in front of their camp and tipis. The interesting thing is they are beside a camera, and are looking at a roll of negatives, presumably exposures of their camp and family. The picture was taken in 1913, so one would presume that the person who took this picture also had taken pictures earlier and was sharing those results with these men.


  1. Obviously posed. Not to be really fussy, but war bonnets are only worn, ahem, when riding to war. Each feather represents a coup - either touching or killing an enemy - so a large war bonnet would have been a powerful psychological tool.

  2. Did this picture, and the previous one, come from the collections of Edward Curtis? He went all over the west taking pictures of Native Americans, usually in their ceremonial dress. Most of the pictures we see of the Chiefs of various tribes, from the 1880s to the 1920s, were taken by Curtis. There are books of his photos, and occasionally negatives show up in odd places. Retrospectives of his pictures have been done at the Museum of the Native American in DC, among many other places. Curtis developed his own photos, and they are now considered high art. He tried to respect the values of those he photographed. In later years, some of the tribes objected, as he managed to photograph rites that were closed to non-tribal members. So the tribes later wondered how he'd managed to get the pictures. Likewise, some of the pictures were manipulated, like this one showing war bonnets in non-war settings. Nonetheless, he remains the major documenter of life among many tribes, almost as Brady remains our main documenter of the Civil War.


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