Image of Bear Bull, Blackfeet

Thru May 2022

Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) grew up in rural Minnesota. His relative poverty required him to be ingenious, and led him to build his first camera and process prints at age 12. Curtis’s early passion proved life-long. At seventeen, he became a photographic apprentice, and in 1897 he became the sole owner of a studio in Seattle, Washington. There he met George Grinnell, noted conservationist and author, who invited him to go to Montana and photograph the Blackfeet, and experience that came to define his trajectory and inform a lifetime of work among tribes across the United States.

The North American Indian (1906-1930) is Curtis’ magnum opus and greatest artistic achievement: a twenty-volume publication that captures the lives and landscapes of Native Americans as they traditionally existed in the midst of tribal transition and adaptation to a new modern paradigm – live of the reservation. Come see a selection of the 40,000 photographs Curtis took to create The North American Indian.