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Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the…
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Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal… (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Timothy Egan

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Member:book58lover
Title:Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis
Authors:Timothy Egan
Info:Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
Collections:Your library, Loaned
Rating:****
Tags:Cunningham, Curtis, photography

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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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The life of Edward Curtis who photographed and told the stories of The North American Indian. His collection of the languages, customs, and traditions was phenomenal. If he had not done the documenting of them, once the tribes were assimilated into the US culture, they would have been lost. This book was well researched. It took me a couple of chapters to get into the story of Edward Curtis but once I did I was fascinated by his story and life. He met so many famous people both Anglo and Native. He was persistent. It took longer than he thought but he was thorough and very much into his subject no matter where they were. Interesting piece of history of which I knew nothing. ( )
  Sheila1957 | May 31, 2015 |
This 2012 book by the author of The Worst Bad Time (read by me on 17 Oct 2006) tells the story of Edward Curtis, who took some 40,000 pictures of American Indians and actually managed to to produce a twenty volume work using his pictures and much else he learned from extensive visits with Indian tribes. He made no money from the project, which he worked on from the 1900's till into the 1920's. He died Oct 19, 1952, in poverty. In 2005 a set of the work sold for $1,400,000. I found the story of his many troubles, unrelieved by any financial success, doleful and nonexhilarating. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jan 5, 2015 |
Great book about Edward Curtis, Native Americans, and the policy of the US government toward Native Americans circa 1900. ( )
  tinkermn | Dec 27, 2014 |
This is one of those books we should all read so we can have a better understanding of how the North American Indian's presence shaped the nation - Canada included. It gave me a shake of the head to realize that the stories about the white man 'stealing' their land and way of life were actually a reality not just age old whining that seems to be the perception of many. I really did feel that Egan told us an important story. Curtis' unrelenting passion to document this history was more than commendable- sad in it's obstacles for sure but as predicted, a huge contribution to the legacy of a culture that richly remains with us today. ( )
  BonnieP | Nov 24, 2014 |
My short review: outstanding book, unbelievable life ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:17 -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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