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Edward S. Curtis' Photographs Reflect Native American Life On the Precipice of Change


Lodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisThe Rush Gatherer - Kutenai; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisPulini and Koyame - Walpi; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisAssiniboin Mother and Child; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisGeronimo - Apache; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisWolf - Apsaroke; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisFor A Winter Campaign; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisA Mono Home; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisChief Joseph - Nez Perce; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisAn Oasis in the Badlands; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisCanyon de Chelly; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisChief of the Desert - Navaho; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisThe Vanishing Race; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisBaby - Nez Perce; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisCheyenne Tepees.; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisWatching The Dancers.; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisFlathead Camp on the Jocko River.; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. CurtisThe Oath.; Credit: Edward S. CurtisLodge Interior-Piegan; Credit: Edward S. Curtis

For photographer Edward S. Curtis, the power to capture a moment in time translated to a desire to preserve cultures that seemed on the brink of extinction. So he fixed his lens on Native American communities, leaving behind a record that's important in terms of its historical significance, the technical skill it demonstrates, and its aesthetic beauty. According to the Library of Congress, Curtis’ work “is now recognized as one of the most significant records of Native culture ever produced.” “Rediscovering Genius: The Work of Edward S. Curtis,” an exhibition at West Hollywood’s DEPART Foundation, features rare works by the photographer. The most significant of these: copper photogravure printing plates rarely shown to the public. Curtis moved to Los Angeles in 1919 and lived here until his death in 1952 — so it makes sense, then, that the exhibition, which features 30 individual plates not shown in more than 100 years, takes place in L.A. Read L.A. Weekly's article here.