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Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic…
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Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs… (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Timothy Egan

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Member:narbgr01
Title:Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis
Authors:Timothy Egan
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012), Edition: 1st Edition, 1st Printing, Hardcover, 384 pages
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Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (2012)

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» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
The consummate tale of an early starving artist who suffered all for the sake of his craft. Incredibly talented pioneer in his field, world famous, devoted his entire adult life to an incredibly important project recognized as a masterpiece even in his own time, and yet he dies penniless. Fascinating piece of history and a great collection of pictures. ( )
1 vote dele2451 | Apr 13, 2014 |
Exceptional. Detailed. Honest and emotional. You will learn more about Curtis and come to understand the setting and experience of our nation during the making of his epic "North American Indian" series. As always, the author does a fabulous job of research, realism and bringing the story into your personal realm of experience.
  AmronGravett | Dec 26, 2013 |
I'm not a huge fan of Egan's writing style, not sure what it is, I had the same reaction on finishing Worst Hard Time, it was painless reading but didn't leave a lasting impression. This should have been a very exciting story of discovery about Indians. Instead it's a comprehensive biography of events year after year, interesting with the boring, a lot of scrambling for money and not as much on the Indians or craft of photography. Nevertheless I now have an appreciation for Curtis who I knew nothing about, Egan has done a great service to memorialize this nearly forgotten American artist. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Dec 15, 2013 |
I have enjoyed each of Egan's books but this one, I feel, is his best. A powerful, moving, and bittersweet recounting of the life, work, and struggles of one of America's most impressive photographic artists. The importance of Curtis' work to American history can't be measured. The fact that today native tribes are using his accomplishment as an assist in the revival of their tribes culture (including language) speaks volumes to it's authenticity and vitality. ( )
  labdaddy4 | Dec 8, 2013 |
If there were any justice, this month's Indian-themed Johnny Depp movie would not be "The Lone Ranger" but the Edward Curtis story — I don't know another actor who could convincingly handle both the charisma and dash of the young Curtis and the tragedy of his later years, when the weight of his accomplishment had broken everything else in his life, and yet even his accomplishment had been largely forgotten. In short, Curtis set out, almost by himself, to document in photographs every surviving North American tribe, and to publish his work in a serious ethnographic work that would also represent a new pinnacle of the publisher's art. How he did this is the story of this book.

The first chapter, of how the young studio photographer Curtis took the now-iconic picture of Princess Angeline, the elderly granddaughter of Chief Seattle who lived as a bag lady in his namesake city, is worth the price of the book: short, poetic and powerful. Chapter 10, in which Curtis visits the Little Bighorn with three former scouts who were at the battle and discovers that everything everybody knew about the tragedy was wrong, is nearly as impressive. Along the way there are great vignettes involving Curtis's friend Teddy Roosevelt, his patron J.P. Morgan, and his invaluable friend and guide Alexander Upshaw, the Native American who got Curtis closer to the tribes than he could have hoped to have gotten by himself. Upshaw's story is the Indian story in a nutshell.

Curtis's story is rich with surprise, adventure, and heartbreak, and Egan's prose is poetic and just. This is the best book I've read in the past year. ( )
  john.cooper | Oct 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Timothy Egan brings Curtis alive as an energetic overachiever scrambling against the annihilating effects of time, government officials and Christian missionaries
 
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Epigraph
We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless or else U sen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and cererontainly had a righteous purpose in creating each. - Geronimo Apache
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is in the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself at sunset. - Crowfoot Blackfeet
Dedication
In memory of Joan Patricia Lynch Egan, mother of seven, who filled us with the Irish love of the underdog and of the written word. She was sustained by books until the very end.
First words
The last Indian of Seattle lived in a shack down among the greased piers and coal bunkers of the new city, on what was then called West Street, her hovel in the grip of Puget Sound, off plumb in a rise above the tidal flats.
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Book description
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 -- Epilogue: Revival.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618969020, Hardcover)

In the summer of 1900, Edward Curtis gave up a successful photography career to pursue a quixotic plan: to photograph all the Indian communities in North America. He quickly learned that his subjects were dying off fast, so he’d need to hurry if he was “to capture the essence of their lives before that essence disappeared.” A mountaineer, explorer, intrepid photojournalist, and amateur anthropologist, Curtis was Ansel Adams crossed with Annie Leibovitz, a willful and passionate chronicler of a people he came to love. “I want to make them live forever,” Curtis said in the early days of his decades-long mission. As Egan’s thrilling story attests, he succeeded, even though he died penniless and alone. --Neal Thompson

Photos from the Author (Amazon.com Exclusive)

Bear's Belly
Bear's Belly (Edward S. Curtis, courtesy of Cardozo Fine Art)

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Before the Storm
Before the Storm (Edward S. Curtis, courtesy of Cardozo Fine Art)

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Canyon De Chelley
Canyon De Chelley (Edward S. Curtis, courtesy of Cardozo Fine Art)

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Oasis in the Bad Lands
Oasis in the Bad Lands (Edward S. Curtis, courtesy of Cardozo Fine Art)

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Piegan Encampment
Piegan Encampment (Edward S. Curtis, courtesy of Cardozo Fine Art)

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Watching Dancers
Watching Dancers (Edward S. Curtis, courtesy of Cardozo Fine Art)

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(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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."--… (more)

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