In the early 1900s, Seattle-based photographer Edward S. Curtis embarked on a project of epic scale, to travel the western United States and document the lives of Native Americans still untouched by Western society. Curtis visited more than 80 tribes over the next 20 years, taking more than 40,000 photographs.
The end result was a 20-volume set of books. In the hundred-plus years since the first volume was published, Curtis's depictions have been both praised and criticized. The sheer documentary value of such a huge and thorough project has been celebrated, while critics of the photography have objected to a perpetuation of the myth of the 'noble savage' in stage-managed portraits.
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