We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, December 1. 2007
Just finished reading Marianne Wiggins' The Shadow Catcher, about which the San Francisco Chronicle said:
I am not advising you to read the book. However, it did spark my interest in the famous turn-of-the-century photographer Edward S. Curtis, best known for his photos of the West and especially his Indian portraits. (He also was the photographer for Alice Roosevelt's wedding.)
You can read about Curtis here. One interesting but unsurprising aspect of his excellent Indian photos is that they were taken well after the days of the "wild Indians." These were reservation Indians who he asked to dress up in the old style and to pose for the photos. The photo of the old Crow Warrior, above, was taken in 1908. Samples of his photos at Curtis' Wiki entry above, and more here, whence we borrowed the image.
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first introduced to Mr. Curtis' work in Santa Fe. I was so mived by his photographs especially one that is not the traditional Indian but a maiden by a creek. The yellow tones cast from the glass photos are incredible. I almost bought a one but couldn't find it for sale. His work is fetching some high prices. there is one shop that his many of his catelogue books. He was committed to the Native American and I would not have wanted him for a spouse either.
His brother Asahel Curtis was also a famed photographer who became estranged from Edward after a dispute over some photos taken in the Yukon that Edward insisted be published under his name, though they had in fact been taken by Asahel. Asahel chose different themes - mountains, Mt. Rainier in particular, early railroads, logging, and photos of the many small settlements then springing up throughout Washington State. Not a mannered style like Edward, and I much prefer Asahel's work.
As a wedding present we were given a picture of Mount Rainier taken from the spot that would become Paradise Lodge. The mountain behind on a cloudless day, the trees in the middle distance, and what appear to be avalanche lilies in the foreground. It hangs in the entryway. And yes, the sepia and golden tones just light up the room.
Did not know about Curtis' brother Skook. Nice to have that Mt. Ranier photo.
More ot/ but....Bought these 2 prints in a Pacific NW junk store. Reminded me of the depression art from the FAP.
from wiki- The Federal Art Project (FAP) was the visual arts arm of the Great Depression-era New Deal WPA Federal One program in the United States. Reputed to have created more than 200,000 separate works, FAP artists created posters, murals and paintings.One interpretation of the WPA main theme, "American Scene," was the world of the American worker, who became a hero and a sign of strength and hope. American workers included craftsmen, farmers and homemakers as well as construction and industrial workers.
Some of the old buffalo hunters, they had just enough fingers remaining on the hand to pull the bow string, the others having been chopped off, an offering to Wakan Tanka.
In those caves in France and Spain--the first cathedrals in the history of the world--there are imprints, images, of hands with missing joints, missing fingers--the Paleolithic Great Hunt--from the Pyrenees across Eurasia to the plains of Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, same sacrifice.
It's fantastical that here we are in this era of space exploration, nanotechnology, and instant worldwide communication yet just a mere hundred or so years ago, no time at all really, an ancient stone-age warrior culture still rode freely across the lands.
One wouldn't imagine that a juxtaposition so enormous will ever happen again.
Hard to believe the Wild West ever happened in the first place--are we sure we didn't just dream all that? Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane?
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
There is a dream dreaming us.
a Kalahari bushman
The Chinese sage
Chuang-tzu dreamt he was a butterfly and on waking wondered whether he then had been a man dreaming, or might not now be a butterfly dreaming it was a man.
That we come to this earth to live is untrue: We come but to sleep, to dream.
La Vida es Sueno; "Life is a Dream"
Play by Calderon
taken from Joseph Campbell
The fateful slumber floats and flows
About the tangle of the rose;
But lo! the fated hand and heart
To rend the slumbrous curse apart!
There lies the hoarded love, the key
To all the treasure that shall be;
Come fated hand the gift to take
And smite this sleeping world awake.
Have owned a very nice large folio book of Curtis' prints of North American Indian Life since the mid 70's that is never far from my desk. I think the book is from a reprint series. Book was bought for ten bucks in a Fort St. John junque store and it is endlessly fascinating to me. Portraits are staged but the faces are beautifully real.
Also,o/t....have been a bit tempted to bust up the book, probably a big no no. The spine is suffering from its large size. Could frame the prints (only the last 2 prints I had matted and framed cost over $300. They look great but art framing is so expensive!).
p, try search on [ bookbinders ].
There's many, i clicked on a random sponsored link, and this outfit has at least a good website and apparently stellar record:
again we have the thought:
"Thank goodness somebody took some pictures!"
That crow warrior looks just like my grandfather (quarter Indian) would have with a different barber.
If you find the works of ES Curtis to be of interest well so do I.
His work reverberates on through history because he knew how to capture character and soul on camera.
Curtis has turned into a subject of controversy because of the tug of war between documentary and art. Many people try to hold him accountable for 50 years before, and 100 years after his images were taken.
I think the images simply speak for themselves.
An interesting revelation on the Curtis legacy is The Indian Picture Opera (Amazon, dvd). This is a modern day remake of his 1911 stage lecture and slide show. You get to hear what he was saying, back in the day... If the Wiggins book stimulated your interest in this man's works, you will certainly enjoy a journey back in time.