Edward S. Curtis

(2116 words)

A prolific photographer and an influential writer, at the height of his fame during the second decade of the twentieth century, Edward S. Curtis dubbed himself “the photo-historian of the North American Indian”. He believed his work was a “monument” to the Native American peoples that he saw as a “vanishing race”. In many ways he had a deep and genuine regard for the spiritual qualities of Indian cultures, especially their religious aspects, but he also thought of his subjects as manifesting characteristics inherently inferior to those of “white” cultures and, thus, as doomed to extinction. His work was motivated – and is characterised – by an uneasy amalgam of artistic impulses, the desire for fame and financial …

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Gidley, Mick. "Edward S. Curtis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 March 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=6009, accessed 26 November 2015.]