Museum of Indian Arts and Culture


January 31, 2014



The photo show Native American Portraits: Points of Inquiry, which debuted at the New Mexico History Museum, moves to a gallery roughly double the size at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture on February 16, 2014, where the exhibition will be enlarged with about 10 more photos for a total of more than 75 historic and contemporary Native American Portraits.

Newly added images include four taken by photographer Lee Marmon of Laguna Pueblo; three created by Dine’ photographer William Wilson; and a late 1800’s tintype depicting a Chippewa (Ojibwe) cowboy taken by an unknown itinerant photographer and accompanied by a letter about the subject and his family.

“We’re adding portraits taken by contemporary Native photographers,” says MIAC Archivist Diane Bird (Santo Domingo Pueblo), who curated the show with Palace of the Governors Photo Archivist Daniel Kosharek and Andrew Smith of the Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe.

Images added to the MIAC exhibition include: LEE MARMON WITH FIRST CAMERA, 1950, 4x5, a self-portrait of Marmon at Laguna Pueblo with a vintage “Woodie” car when he was a much younger man; Marmon’s iconic WHITE MAN’S MOCCASINS, 1954, gelatin silver print, approximately 16 x 20, depicting Jeff Sousea, Laguna elder seated on a banco at Laguna Pueblo wearing high-top Converse tennis shoes; Will Wilson’s self-portrait that he hand-developed with his wet plate collodion process for the cover of the 1212 SWAIA/Native Peoples Indian Market Magazine; and Wilson’s portrait of Joe Horse Capture (Gros Ventre) holding an iPad displaying a portrait of his great grandfather that was taken by Edward S. Curtis.

“The show will be in a bigger gallery and we’re expecting more Native people to attend. A scanner printer will be installed and we’re encouraging Native people to bring an heirloom historic photo which we will scan, giving them a copy and keeping a copy for our community photo gallery that will be up throughout the length of the show with rotating photos” says Bird.

An impressive slate of public programs will accompany the show at MIAC. These launch on opening day with the establishment of the community photo gallery where each individual may submit one vintage heirloom photo for scanning and displaying, a presentation by Marmon at 2 pm, the establishment of a wet plate collodion photographic studio by Will Wilson from noon to 5 pm, and Native dance performances.

About 65 of the show’s images are historic portraits of native Americans and the rest are contemporary images taken by Native American photographers. Focused most extensively on the post-Civil War period through 1935, Native Portraits showcases notable examples by some of the most prominent photographers of their times. Included are the formal ethnographic portraits of visiting Native dignitaries to Washington D.C. following the Civil War by such as Charles M. Bell and Zeno Schindler; the romanticized and staged photos of Edward S. Curtis and Karl Moon; and the elegant yet casual at-home photographs of New Mexico’s Pueblo Indians by T. Harmon Parkhurst.

“These are rare, unique vintage photos. Very seldom do you see them displayed, not at the Smithsonian, not anywhere, and it’s very much a treat to see them here all in one place,” says Palace of the Governors Photo Archivist Daniel Kosharek.

Most of the photographs belong to the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives repository except for the contemporary images which are on loan to or owned by MIAC. A sampling of images can be browsed at; type in the keyword “Indians.”

The exhibition opens at MIAC on February 16 2014 and closes on January 5, 2015. Additional public programs occurring throughout the length of the show includes an Emerging Native American photographers panel; a lecture on the history of Native American photography by Palace of the Governors Photo Archivist Daniel Kosharek and Andrew Smith of the Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe; a return visit by Will Wilson to discuss the Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange; a “Let’s Take A Look” event identifying archival family photographs; a “Breakfast with the Curators” featuring Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie; and a contemporary Photo Booth.

High resolution images may be downloaded from the media center here:


Steve Cantrell, PR Manager


Diane Bird, MIAC/Lab Archivist





Related Photos

Grandma & Me
The Three Graces
Two Moons Stoic/Two Moons Smiling
Hoiio-Wotoma, Cheyenne
Jesus Antonio Moya, Santa Ana Pueblo
Patricio Calabasa, Santo Domingo Pueblo
Son of Keo-kuk
Loti, Laguna Pueblo
Pawnee Scouts
Woman and Child

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