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Thread: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Jerusalem, Israel

    Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    I am wondering if anyone can recommend a book on Edward Curtis--One that talks about his techniques in photographing and printing. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Mobile, AL

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    The following books are on Curtis covering his life and works. The books on Curtis are more devoted to his works rather than techniques.
    Edward S. Curtis Coming To Light by Anne Makepeace, ISBN 0-7922-6404-5 is a biography.
    Edward S. Curtis Visions Of The First Americans by Don Gulbrandsen, has roughly 300 prints segregated into the various tribal regions, ISBN-13:978-0-7858-2114-4 and
    ISBN-10: 0-7858-2114-7
    Sacred Legacy Edward S. Curtis And The North American Indian, by Christopher Cardozo, ISBN 0-7432-0374-7
    Edward S. Curtis The Great Warriors by Christopher Cardozo, ISBN 0-8212-2894-3
    Edward Curtis The Master Prints, ISBN 1-892041-39-1 is the publication of an exhibition of Platinum prints found in storage at the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem, Massachusetts.

    If you ever have a chance to see original Curtis prints, gravures, or orotones, they are breathless, Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe or A Gallery in New Orleans have Curtis prints for viewing and sale.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Bath, Ohio 44210 USA

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    One more book along the same lines of his work rather than technique. Curtis, Edward S.; Sites & Structures; Chronicle Books; San Francisco, CA; 2000


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Massachusetts USA

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    Anyone know about his methods ?

    From what I can tell, he shot 5x7 glass plates and the bulk of his work was shown in the form of photogravure prints on warm toned paper, printed large.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2007
    New York City & Pontremoli, Italy

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    PBS had wonderfuldocumentary about him many years ago; I think it talked (briefly) about his technique as well. I have been searching for a copy but so far no luck.

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    He's controversial, mainly due to the way he would carry costumes about and largely ignore authentic tribal customs. I have a wonderful book you missed:
    Edward S. Curtis, Life and Times of a Shadow Catcher. His print prices are all over
    the map - extremely high for famous Indian images, next to nothing for Hollywood
    portraits late in his career. A more authentic representation of the last of the Indian
    culture out here is Almost Ancestors (I personally knew a few people in that book -
    and at least one of the children in there might still be alive, close to 100 yrs old).

  7. #7
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Coquitlam, BC, Canada, eh!

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    "In his early years as a photographer, Curtis won widespread acclaim for his goldtone prints, referred to as "Curt-Tones." He achieved a distinctive iridescent effect by printing a reversed image on glass and backing it with a viscous mixture of powdered gold pigment and banana oil. Critics praised Curtis' goldtones over others' for their beautiful luminosity and stability of backing. Curtis experimented with similar effects using silver and platinum pigments."

    Found this on the internet. Sounds interesting. If there is a book on his technique it would be a good read, me thinks.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    Recently we had a small exhibition of Curtis work here in Brazil and despite the fact that some prints were modern inkjet copies it was an amazing collection of maybe a dozen different processes.
    Those goldtone prints are really nice to see, maybe similar to daguerreotype but much more vivid and contrasty. And colored, of course!
    It seems that during this long term project he had the chance to test every new technique he could lay his hands on and soon I found myself regretting not to be alive at this time.

  9. #9
    Saratoga, CA
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    Several years ago, at a photo swap meet, I bought these two Curtis images. I think I paid ~$50 each. These are envelopes that held the copper plates that were used for printing; I wish I had the plates.
    I'm not sure how they are printed but being almost 90 years old, they are holding up very well except for marks from handling.

    I framed one but I haven't got around to framing the other.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Book on Edward Curtis techniques?

    bob...that's frigin cool!

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