Edward S. Curtis Conclusions – Pt. 9

Chief and his staff - Apsaroke by Edward S. Curtis. 1905.
Chief and his staff – Apsaroke by Edward S. Curtis. 1905.

His work today: Edward S. Curtis conclusions

Images by Edward S. Curtis are still being pushed out into the world. There are many inexpensive prints available. In the last presentation of the Curtis Fever series, Dr. Julia Dolan wondered what Edward S. Curtis conclusions would be over this citywide event. She wondered what the tribes thought about it as well. Though Curtis photographed native peoples because he thought they were vanishing, that idea was wrong since they still exist. An advertisement for a TV show showing a portrait of Curtis on a bed stand was shown. It was from a program called, “The New Normal”. Ironically, it has become the new normal to see pictures of Curtis and the photos he took all over the world thanks to the Internet.

A Taos girl by Edward S. Curtis. 1905.
A Taos girl by Edward S. Curtis. 1905.

His work has proven a useful record of North American tribal culture, language, and song that many have put to good use. Newer technologies, such as smartphones, have been used by modern day Native Americans to help them learn their native language. Photographs by Curtis and his brother have been used by the tribes to identify ancestors and recreate ancient customs.

A Family Group - Noatak by Edward S. Curtis.
A Family Group – Noatak by Edward S. Curtis.

Dr. Dolan commented about the work of Edward S. Curtis as being “rich and wonderful, but also painful.” We cannot begin to imagine the pain the Native Americans were going through at the time of Curtis’ work. However, we are thankful that his art lives on and that so many of us are able to learn more about him and the people he portrayed.

Audience viewing In the Land of the Head-Hunters at the High Desert Museum
Audience viewing In the Land of the Head-Hunters at the High Desert Museum .

Appreciation of his work and his life

The events around Bend related to Curtis were well attended. It was difficult to find a parking space nearby! Many people seem to have a deep fascination with his work but also in learning more about him as a person. Author Timothy Egan admitted that when he first considered writing about Curtis that he thought of him as “Indiana Jones with a camera”. He found out that Edward S. Curtis was so much more. Though Curtis had a life of dramatic ups and downs, Egan thought he was able to achieve the goal of helping Native Americans “live forever”.

Edward S. Curtis Kutenai woman. 1910.
Kutenai woman by Edward S. Curtis. 1910.

Photos by Edward S. Curtis in this article are from the following source: http://curtis.library.northwestern.edu/index.html

Sources:

Curtis, E. (Director). (1998).   “In the land of the head hunters” film set, 1914 [Motion picture]. University of Manitoba.

Edward S. Curtis: A detailed chronological biography. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.soulcatcherstudio.com/artists/curtis_cron.html

Edward Curtis Shadow Catcher. (2015). Bend, Oregon: Atelier6000.org.

Edward S. Curtis’s: The North American Indian. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://curtis.library.northwestern.edu/index.html

Egan, T. (2012). Short nights of the Shadow Catcher: The epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pict/hd_pict.htm

History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/edward-curtis-epic-project-to-photograph-native-americans-162523282/

Makepeace, A. (Director). (2000).   Coming to light [Motion picture]. Anne Makepeace Prod. Orig.-Prod.

Photograph Collector’s Guide – Edward Curtis Photography, Life & Work. (2012, January 5). Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.edwardcurtis.com/collectors-guide/

Posts in this series:

Edward S. Curtis Fever in Bend, Oregon

Edward S. Curtis Photo Techniques & Artistic Movements Pt. 2

Edward S. Curtis History – Childhood to Businessman Pt. 3

Edward S. Curtis’ Mission – A History (continued) Pt. 4

Edward S. Curtis’ life of twists & turns Pt. 5

Edward S. Curtis’ Film – In the Land of the Head-Hunters – Pt. 6

Controversy surrounding Edward Curtis & documentary – Pt. 7

Edward S. Curtis Discovery & Events Pt. 8

Edward S. Curtis Conclusions – Pt. 9