I’ve always been drawn to photographs by Edward Curtis. They seem to capture a place and time that seems even distant beyond the years when the photos were shot. I remember reading at one point that Curtis would embellish some of the pictures with items he had collected on his travels visiting different tribes and how he would occasionally manipulate photos in the dark room. I remember a pang of discomfort when reading this. On one hand he was attempting to create more authentic photos but in doing so he removed their authenticity which causes us to question even more about his photos and practices.
I’ve always been interested in how we imagine things in our minds. And at this moment, I’m curious how we build models of people or cultures if we haven’t witnesses them first hand.
The image we have of unvisited cultures is often built by pictures and stories we encounter. But what if the people sharing those stories haven’t had direct experience with those cultures either. What then?
This series, Joyful Tune, was created by bringing together the script of Disney’s Pocahontas and the photographs taken by Edward Curtis.
Each image was planned by hand and then sketched onto a sheet of paper. That paper was fed into the typewriter and the script typed over it. The sketch was then erased.