Edward S. Curtis (1868–1952) left an enduring mark on the history of photography in his 20-volume life's work, The North American Indian. Between 1900 and 1930, Curtis traveled across the continent photographing more than seventy Native American tribes. The photographs presented daily activities, customs, and religions of a people he called “a vanishing race.” To this end, Curtis often staged his subjects and set up scenes, mixing tribal artifacts and traditions to match his romanticized vision of the people he studied.
In Indelible: The Platinum Photographs of Larry McNeil and Will Wilson, art photographers Larry McNeil (Tlingit/Nisga’a) and Will Wilson (Diné/Bilagáana) challenge this photographic legacy in their work. These artists’ works emphasize that American Indians, like the platinum print itself, have not vanished but instead remain indelible.