Performing Archive

Working in the Field

Curtis's photo developing in the field was often done in a tent, and another tent frequently served as his mobile portrait studio

In his book, Edward S. Curtis and The North American Indian, Incorporated, Mick Gidley quotes a 1907 speech in which Curtis describes his outfit:

Our camp equipment weighing from a thousand pounds to a ton, depending upon distance from a source of supplies; in photographic and other equipment there were several 61/2 X 81/2 cameras, a motion-picture machine, phonograph for recording songs, a typewriter, a trunk of reference books, correspondence in connection with the work, its publication and the lectures all from the field. Tents, bedding, our foods, saddles, cooking outfit, four to eight horses - such was the outfit. Someone has to boss the job; usually that falls to me. Everything must be kept on the move that no time is lost. Teams have to be bought, supplies secured, both commissary and photographic, arrangements made for getting and sending mail. On long stretches the whole outfit has to be shipped... and, withal, the one thing that must never be lost sight of, the purpose of the work; a picture and word history of the Indian and his life. But at times the handling of the material side of the work almost causes one to lose sight of art and literature....1

The text for the twenty volumes was often written in a cabin over the winter by Curtis, William Myers and other assistants. 

This page has paths:

This page references: