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The Photograph and the American Indian

Bush, Alfred L.

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ISBN 10: 0691034893 / ISBN 13: 9780691034898
Published by Princeton University Press 1994-09-06, 25.00, 1994
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Monroe Street Books (Middlebury, VT, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

334 pages. Extensive b&w and color photography throughout. Extensive photo documentation and bibliography. Clean, unmarked copy with only minor wear to wrappers. Record # 465916. Bookseller Inventory # 465916

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Photograph and the American Indian

Publisher: Princeton University Press 1994-09-06, 25.00

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


In this first major book to present a comprehensive look at photographs of Indians by both Native and Anglo Americans, from 1840 to the present, we are offered a compelling array of images reproduced with exacting respect for the physical qualities of the photograph as a document. Alfred Bush and Lee Mitchell help us see these photographs not only as historical artifacts but as rich texts that describe their makers as tellingly as their subjects. More than three hundred images relate an important tale of the intrusion of technology into the traditional life of the American Indian, and the political uses both Native Americans and Anglo Americans found for the photograph.

These photographs reveal the many agendas of both photographers and American Indians. From images pandering to popular stereotypes to ones that catch troubling realities, these photographs encourage us to consider the photographic enterprise from various perspectives, including those of Native Americans. Contradicting the common notion that Native American photographers are a recent phenomenon, Indians make their appearance as photographers in this work as early as the 1880s with portrayals as varied and conflicted as any by Anglo Americans. The exciting dynamics among multiple American cultures encountering each other through art and technology is masterfully documented here. The text provides authoritative dating of the photographs, biographies of the photographers, and an extensive bibliography. This is a treasurehouse for readers with interests in Native Americans and their history and in the history of photography.


". . . combines exacting scholarship with excellent reproductions. . . . visually satisfying and academically fulfilling."--Bloomsbury Review

"At turns depressing and exhilarating, this beautiful collection is instructive in its use of images made by both whites and American Indians, reminding us that self-determination must mean having some say in how one's story or face is retailed to others."--Albert Mobilio, New York Newsday

"This book documents the relationship between the camera and the American Indian over the past 150 years. A tool of the invaders, cameras were used to explore exotic civilizations and create saleable studio portraits. Later generations used the camera to "prove" the value of Westernizing the Native American and to record anthropological data. In this century, Indians used the camera to examine their own cultures and to explore the difficulty of straddling two worlds, the traditional and the modern. The editors of the book have a real sensitivity to these pictures."--Douglas Balz, Chicago Tribune

"This book provides the most complete and balanced survey available on the photography of North American Indians."--Library Journal

"These varied pictures of Native Americans constitute an important, complicated, disturbing, but ultimately moving visual accounting of the transformation of Indian life, a sort of museum of cultural contact and cultural survival. . . . Each photograph represents a story, represents some lost historical moment and narratve . . . contains a world of information and the complicated legacy of Indian-white contact. . . . [this] collectionof images of native peoples is at once intimate, powerful and moving, demanding that the reader think about the meaning of the images."--The Boston Book Review

"The Photograph and the American Indian examines and explodes racial stereotypes while presenting an extraordinary visual record through 150 years. Three-quarters of these images have never been reproduced before, and nearly one quarter are by Native Americans. . . . They stand on their own as images--beautiful, powerful, and dangerous--of a world we have misunderstood, and of the depth of our misunderstanding."--Times Literary Supplement

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