The North American Indian : the complete portfolios

by Edward S. Curtis

Paper Book, 1997



Call number

E77.5 .C84 1997


Köln ; New York : Taschen, c1997.


At the turn of the 20th century, the American photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) started on his 30-year project to produce a monumental study of North American Indians. Using an approach that was both artistically and scientifically ambitious, he recorded, in words and pictures, the traces of the traditional Indian way of life that was already beginning to die out. With tireless personal commitment Curtis visited 80 American Indian tribes from the Mexican border to the Bering Strait, gaining their confidence through his patience and sensitivity. His work was printed in 20 volumes between 1907 and 1930 as The North American Indian, but with only 272 copies, originals became extremely rare. This book gathers Curtis's entire American Indian portfolio into one publication, offering renewed access to and appreciation of his extraordinary achievement, which is as much a precious historical document as a triumph of the photographic form.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member AnnaOok
Controversial though it is -- because some of the photos are posed, because it's not "proper" ethnography, because of the author's attitudes -- this is still a unique document of a world that has disappeared. And a stunning collection of photographs. Beyond the "exoticism" and beyond the
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documentary value, this is a book of portraits of beautiful people.
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LibraryThing member untraveller
Interesting collection....a map would have been helpful as I was unaware of some of the tribes. What kept me from giving the book a 5 star rating was that most of the pics were staged....not necessarily bad, but it would have been better if some many were not.
LibraryThing member Bodagirl
I picked this up in B&N bargain pile because it looked like an interesting photography book. While the photos were beautiful, Curtis's original explanations that accompany some of them are such a product of their time that I found many of them distasteful. The introduction helped frame the project
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and gave some clue as to its importance, but for a modern edition I don't think it went far enough to mitigate the exploitative nature of Curtis's work.
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LibraryThing member juniperSun
The essays and picture descriptions are bilingual German/English/French. This collection of over 100 photos, representing people across the US, is beautiful though it's smaller size (about 5"x7") is not as impressive as the portfolio-sized volume I have seen previously.
The essays provide an
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overview of Curtis' life, which I had been unaware of.
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Physical description

768 p.; 20 cm


382288183X / 9783822881835

Local notes

LC copy bound in 2 v.: v. 1, p. 4-371; v. 2, p. 374-768.


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