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Short nights of the Shadow Catcher: the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis

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How a lone man’s epic obsession led to one of America’s greatest cultural treasures: Prizewinning writer Timothy Egan tells the riveting, cinematic story behind the most famous photographs in Native American history — and the driven, brilliant man who made them.Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. And he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared.An Indiana Jones with a camera, Curtis spent the next three decades traveling from the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the Acoma on a high mesa in New Mexico to the Salish in the rugged Northwest rain forest, documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Eventually Curtis took more than 40,000 photographs, preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.His most powerful backer was Theodore Roosevelt, and his patron was J. P. Morgan. Despite the friends in high places, he was always broke and often disparaged as an upstart in pursuit of an impossible dream. He completed his masterwork in 1930, when he published the last of the twenty volumes. A nation in the grips of the Depression ignored it. But today rare Curtis photogravures bring high prices at auction, and he is hailed as a visionary. In the end he fulfilled his promise: He made the Indians live forever.
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9780618969029
9781611209495
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full_title short nights of the shadow catcher the epic life and immortal photographs of edward curtis
author egan timothy
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-05-27 15:14:58PM

Solr Details

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author Timothy Egan
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display_description "Edward Curtis was dashing, charismatic, a passionate mountaineer, a famous photographer--the Annie Liebowitz of his time. And he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his great idea: He would try to capture on film the Native American nation before it disappeared. At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, Egan's book tells the remarkable untold story behind Curtis's iconic photographs, following him throughout Indian country from desert to rainforest as he struggled to document the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. Even with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan, it took tremendous perseverance--six years alone to convince the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. The undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. He would die penniless and unknown in Hollywood just a few years after publishing the last of his twenty volumes. But the charming rogue with the grade-school education had fulfilled his promise--his great adventure succeeded in creating one of America's most stunning cultural achievements."--
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oclc (OCoLC)666239978
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physical 1 online resource (1 audio file (11hr., 56 min.)) : digital., 370 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
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publishDate 2012
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subject_facet Curtis, Edward S., -- 1868-1952, Documentary photography -- United States -- History, Indians of North America -- History, Photographers -- United States -- Biography
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis
title_alt Epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis.
title_display Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis
title_full Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis, Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis / Timothy Egan, Short nights of the shadow catcher [electronic resource] : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis / Timothy Egan
title_short Short nights of the Shadow Catcher :
title_sort short nights of the shadow catcher the epic life and immortal photographs of edward curtis
title_sub the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis
topic Biography & Autobiography, History, Multi-Cultural, Nonfiction
topic_facet Biography & Autobiography, History, Multi-Cultural, Nonfiction