NWC News Desk

Traveling exhibit features photography of Edward S. Curtis

Posted October 16, 2018
By NWC News Desk

A traveling exhibit featuring the images of American photographer and ethnologist Edward S. Curtis will hang in Northwest College’s SinClair Gallery Oct. 22 through Dec. 14.

The exhibit features pieces from Edward S. Curtis’ “The North American Indian,” a work that provides a permanent record of 80 North American tribes through ethnographic notes and more than 1,500 photographs included in 20 volumes. Accompanying the volumes were 20 portfolios containing 36 photogravure prints each. A selection of these images in digital format will be on display.

Beginning 1898, Curtis traveled the American West from the Rio Grande to the Arctic Circle. Working with written accounts, photographic images and sound recordings, he gathered and arranged the ethnographic data and took more than 40,000 photographs using only natural light. The massive work was published between 1907 and 1930. The volumes were printed on the finest handmade papers of the time; however, the Great Depression contributed to weak sales of the finished volumes, and only 214 of the 500 subscriptions were sold.

Timothy Egan, author of “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher,” says of the work, “The great goal of the monumental photographic achievement of Edward Curtis was to make the First Americans ‘live forever,’ as he said. This man, with his sixth grade education and lifelong devotion to his subject, did just that. His pictures of all the tribes in the West are timeless, showing the humanity of a people who were too often stereotyped or forgotten.”

This exhibit is funded by a grant from Wyoming Community Foundation’s Carol McMurry Donor Advised Fund in partnership with the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, which holds a rare complete set of “The North American Indian.”

For more information, contact NWC Art and Galleries Coordinator Denise Kelsay at Denise.Kelsay@nwc.edu or 307-754-6499.