Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

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Edward S. Curtis -   Plate 048   Papago Girl border=
Plate 048 Papago Girl
Portfolio, 22 x 18 inches
Vintage Photogravure
Images like this Papago girl, where the subject stares directly into the camera are striking to say the least. Her expression can be read in so many different ways, but on first glance appears to be melancholy. Her dress is incredibly simple, just a white draped material that frames her very distinct features. The contrast between the dark brown background and the white fabric make the subject pop out at you and confront the viewer right away.

Edward Curtis describes this piece as such: A particularly fine-looking Papago girl of as nearly pure blood as can be found in the region. The northern Piman tribes have been in direct contact with Spanish people for more than two centuries. Much of the early foreign blood, however, has become so blended that its physical influence is no longer apparent. Indeed there are many instances in which the Indians insist that their blood is entirely aboriginal, whereas in fact an infusion of alien blood is traceable several generations back.

Curtis once said, "It is such a big dream, I can’t see it all", it is hard to imagine he could have ever predicted to have taken this strikingly beautiful picture or have even met the Papgo tribe.
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