A photo album that took 25 years to make
Beginning in 1901 at the age of 33, Edward S. Curtis, a Seattle portrait photographer, spent 25 years documenting  Native North American peoples.

Commissioned by JP Morgan he planned to capture and document what he thought was “The Vanishing Indian”. Guided by this concept, Curtis took over 40,000 images from over 80 tribes and made 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian languages and music. His ethnographies recorded tribal histories as well as described ceremonies, tribal population and customs, foods, clothing and games. In 1930 The North American Indian was published comprising twenty volumes of writing and more than 2,200 sepia toned photographs. After investing decades of his life and his finances in the project, less than 300 copies were sold. Curtis was left bankrupt and divorced and passed away on Oct 19, 1952—his work virtually unknown.

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Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher - Edward Sherrif Curtis, PhotographerShort Nights of the Shadow Catcher
A book by Timothy Egan
Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous portrait photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. But when he was thirty-two years old, in 1900, he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared. Curtis spent the next three decades documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty North American tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him to observe their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Curtis would amass more than 40,000 photographs and 10,000 audio recordings, and he is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.

Rent or Purchase Coming to Light - a film by Edward CurtisComing To Light: The Edward S. Curtis StoryA film written and directed by Anne Makepeace
Starring: Bill Pullmand and Sheila Tousey
The dramatic story of eminent photographer Edward S. Curtis and the creation of his monumental portfolio of Native American images. Descendants of his photographic subjects tell stories about the photos and reveal their meaning to Indian people today.
"Coming to Light tells more than the story of its main subject, 'Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians.' It tells, too, of the tragedy of cultural loss and hopes for recovery of memory. The film honors the great achievements of Curtis by placing his pictures in a vibrant frame of sorrow, desire, and promise. In its sensitive and intelligent fusion of image, sound, and story, the film offers an extraordinary experience of living history. It cannot be praised enough." — Alan Trachtenberg, Neil Gray Professor of English and American Studies, Yale University

Purchase Shadow Catcher by Laurie LawlorShadow Catcher: The Life and Work of Edward S. CurtisA book by Laurie Lawlor
Many Native Americans photographed by Edward S. Curtis (1868–1952) called him Shadow Catcher. But the images he captured were far more powerful than mere shadows. When the twentieth century was just getting underway, Curtis began documenting North American Indian culture in words and photographs. Today, almost one hundred years later, his work still stands as the most extensive and informative collection of its kind. His photographs are more than mere documents; they are works of art revealing subtleties of human expression missing from other historical and anthropological records. Filled with Curtis’s breathtaking photographs and available for the first time in a paperback edition, Shadow Catcher traces Curtis’s life and work from his boyhood in Wisconsin, through his first photo expedition to Alaska in 1897 and the completion of The North American Indian collection in 1930, to his death in 1952.

Purchase at Amazon, Visions of the First AmericansEdward S. Curtis: Visions of the First AmericansA book by Don Gulbrandsen
Edward S. Curtis: Visions of the First Americans is a tribute to the photographer, his work, but above all to the Native Americans he photographed. Chapters on many different Native American tribes make this collection unique. Edward Curtis's recognizable style, saturated with sepia, is immediately recognizable.
He captures not only the striking faces of his subjects, but also a glimpse into the lifestyle of each Native American tribe he photographed. Women grind corn, and communities gather outside their traditional living areas. Atop horses, Native Americans ride on the prarie. Papooses are bundled in woven carrying packs, and men are dressed in full feathered regalia. These images paint a picture, known to us now only as a historical memory. Many tribes are featured in this volume, from the familiar Apache and Navaho to lesser-known tribes.
This book will draw in readers who are interested in world cultures, along with photography buffs and historians. This hardcover volume is a wonderful addition to any library.
This is a beautifully printed large-format coffee table book that includes more than 300 Sepia Toned Native American images taken by early 19th Century Pioneer Photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis. The book includes an excellent introduction and helpful picture captions. It is a terrific collection of rare photographs of a vanished way of life. — James R. Holland, Author, Photographer

Purchase at Amazon, Sacred LegacySacred Legacy: Edward S. Curtis And The North American IndianA book edited by Christopher Cardozo
One hundred years ago, Edward Sheriff Curtis began a thirty-year odyssey to photograph and document the lives and traditions of the Native peoples of North America. This monumental project was hailed by "The New York Herald" as "the most gigantic undertaking since the making of the King James edition of the Bible."In this landmark volume, almost 200 of the finest examples of Cu rt is's photographs are reproduced with startling fidelity to his original prints. Produced to the very highest standards, "Sacred Legacy" presents Curtis's work without compromise for the first time in the modern era. Taken together, these profound images constitute no less than the core and essence of his life's work. Until now, virtually none of Curtis's photographs have been reproduced in a manner that captures the clarity and richness of his original master prints. In "Sacred Legacy," his greatest images are reproduced from the finest source materials available -- a significant number from breathtaking platinum, gold, and silver prints. All have been carefully selected for pub lication and for an accompanying international exhibition by Curtis authority Christopher Cardozo.In an effort to bring a new understanding to Curtis's monumental work, "Sacred Legacy" was developed according to the organizing principles set forth by the great photographer himself. Following the path la id out in his 20 volume magnum opus, "The North American Indian," geographic regions are presented separately and individual tribes within each region are depicted and described. Interspersed between these sections are compelling portrayals of those aspects of life common to all tribes, among them spirituality. ceremony, arts, and the activities of daily life.With "The North American Indian," Curtis achieved the impossible: an extraordinary 20 -volume set of handmade books composed of nearly 4,000 pages of text and 2,200 images presenting more than 80 of North America's Native nations. Luminous, iconic, and profoundly revealing, the pictures that form the heart of the original project are reproduced here in "Sacred Legacy." These extraordinary photographs had an immense impact on the national imagination and continue to shape the way we see Native life and culture."Sacred Legacy" is a fitting testament to the profound beauty, meaning, and complexity of Indian life and to Edward S. Curtis -- a man whose wisdom, passion, and strength drove him to devote thirty years to capturing the nobility and pride of the Native peoples of North America. The photographs in this brilliant volume represent the most important presentation of Curtis's work since the publication of the first volume of "Me North American Indian" nearly a century ago.