North-American Natives


- 07/07/2016 -

Born in 1868, ethnologist and photographer Edward S Curtis has specialized in the study of Native American tribes.

Shocked by the condition of the Native Americans who were suffering from the rapid American invasion, he decided to photograph the tribes in order to keep visual evidence of their existence.

His project was to immortalize the rituals and faces of the members of these vanishing tribes. He found the support of the then President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. With the financial support of the billionaire JP Morgan, he purchased professional photographic equipment and found the necessary funds to finance his excursions.

Edward S. Curtis
Two Whistles, Edward S. Curtis (1908)
Watching the dancers, Edward S. Curtis (1906)

"I made a resolution that the illustrations should be done in the best methods available at the time so that you can almost see the pores of Indian skin in my portraits," Curtis said. 10,000 Native Americans will take part in this unprecedented photographic adventure that will result in the publication of 20 volumes of unique photographs in only 500 copies. To immortalize all the characteristics of the faces and expressions of the Amerindians, Edward set up a tent that served as his photo studio. He also took care to record family ties and tribal names to better publicize this vast community, which was little known at the time. Recently, a complete collection of The North American Indian was auctioned off for the modest sum of $1.8 million. Unfortunately Curtis will not see a glimpse of this fortune, he died at the age of 84 following a heart attack in 1952 alone and ruined in California.

LAPS chose the portrait of Two Whistles to be present in its dials. Born in 1856, he was a member of the Apsaroke tribe. The falcon tied on his head is a way to carry the spirit of this animal in order to stay under his protection. Discover also the Hopi model, representing three women of this tribe on adobe steps.

Two Whistles