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Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis
Egan, Timothy (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher
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"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."-- Provided by publisher.
Authors: Egan, Timothy
Title: Short nights of the Shadow Catcher
the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
Characteristics: 370 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Timothy Egan
Contents: First picture
Encounter on a volcano
The Big Idea
Indian Napoleon
With the President
In the den of the titan
Anglos in Indian country
The artist and his audience
The Custer conundrum
The most remarkable man
On the river of the West
New art forms
Moving pictures
Lost days
Second wind
The longest days
Fight to the finish
Twilight
Revival
Summary: "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."-- Provided by publisher.
ISBN: 9780618969029
0618969020
Branch Call Number: 770.92 C978es 2012
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index
Includes bibliographical references (p. [331]-350) and index
Subject Headings: Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952 Photographers United States Biography Indians of North America History Documentary photography United States History
Topical Term: Photographers
Indians of North America
Documentary photography
LCCN: 2012022390
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Opinion

From Library Staff

Join the discussion on May 19, 2015. It took Curtis over 30 years to capture the iconic photographs. It's the kind of work that would change anyone, and it changed him profoundly, from detached observer to fierce advocate for the Native American people. A fascinating, heartbreaking, stunning read.

Join the discussion on Nov. 18, 2014. It took Curtis over 30 years to capture the iconic photographs. It's the kind of work that would change anyone, and it changed him profoundly, from detached observer to fierce advocate for the Native American people. A fascinating, heartbreaking, stunning read.

Join the discussion on Feb. 8, 2015. It took Curtis over 30 years to capture the iconic photographs. It's the kind of work that would change anyone, and it changed him profoundly, from detached observer to fierce advocate for the Native American people. A fascinating, heartbreaking, stunning read.

Join us for the discussion on May 7 or 12, 2015. It took Curtis over 30 years to capture the iconic photographs. It's the kind of work that would change anyone, and it changed him profoundly, from detached observer to fierce advocate for the Native American people.

It took Curtis over 30 years to capture all the photographs. It's the kind of work that would change anyone, and it changed him profoundly, from detached observer to fierce advocate. He would die penniless and unknown in 1952, just a few years after publishing the last of his twenty volumes. Fasc... Read More »


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Jan 08, 2014
  • pokano rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Superb book by Tim Egan describing the life and work of Edward Curtis, the Seattlite who took all the sepia-toned photos of Native Americans and First People in the late 1800's and well into the first half of the 20th Century. Amazingly enough, Curtis never made a dime off his monumental 20-volume work, which not only encompassed the photos, but also linguistic and other anthropological studies and precursors to movies. Funded primarily by mogul JP Morgan, Curtis was nonetheless constantly underfunded and died pretty much penniless. Read what made this man keep constantly on the road for decades, documenting numerous tribes in numerous states and Canada, when he was getting no financial compensation for his work. The book contains reproductions of several photos. A must read for anyone interested in the history of Native Americans, of the Pacific Northwest, and the development of mad genius.

Jul 16, 2013
  • tuesdayswithlori rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The writing in this is very entertaining. I wish that there had been more pictures that Ed Curtis had taken. It is fascinating to read the story and see the picture of the person who captured Curtis's attention. I felt at times the the biographer too liberties with his interpretation of thoughts and feelings that Curtis had, but I could just be wrongfully suspicious. Fascinating life.

Jun 25, 2013
  • megtwice rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Unforgettable, hypnotizing, devastating, astonishing. One of the most fascinating books I've ever read — I will remember Edward Curtis and his undertaking forever. I immediately bought a book of his photographs when I finished, in order to not forget how moved I'd been and what I learned.

May 17, 2013
  • hypocracy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A fine story by a fine writer-story telling Timothy Egan about photographer Edward Sherriff Curtis’s photographic story telling about the native people the original owners of this lands and the loss of their nations. With population of over 10 million roaming all over this lands in 1492 reaching the end of their era when only 237000 was what left of them out of US population of 76 million of new comers according the Censes of 1900. This is the year when Curtis “The Shadow Catcher” started his struggle in pursue of his great idea to tell the story of what was left of the natives of this land for all the times ever coming in the future to be told with his photographs. Timothy Egan writing about Edward Curtis’s epic life story carries the reader finely through a problematic nebulous concoction of consternation he was facing in pursue of his great idea with a performance matching his promise. Edward Sherriff Curtis chose the companionship with the holy and they made him one. Your time with this book is worth as much as cup of life itself.

Now that I've finished reading this book, all my other reading seems boring. This book was really enjoyable. Readers who have lived in the American west, especially anyone who has lived in Seattle, would be glad they read it.

Tim Egan is a wonderful speaker - if you get a chance to hear him, drop everything and go.

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app08 Version sidamo (sidamo) Last updated 2014/09/17 15:16