Alone with the Past
The Life and Photographic Art of ROLAND W. REED
by Ernest R. Lawrence
Preface by Joe D. Horse Capture
Dimensions: 12" x 9", 244 pages, 385 photographs, appendices, bibliography, notes, index
HARDCOVER with dustjacket
“In 1907 I locked up my studio, ordered plenty of photographic material . . . and started my long deffered [sic] campaign in portraying the North American Indian.” —ROLAND REED
ROYAL W. (ROLAND) REED, JR. (1864-1934) was one of a small number of professional photographers now known as “Pictorialists”who set out to document Native Americans, the “vanishing” race. Employing new artistic techniques and often posing their subjects, the Pictorialists re-created the “noble savage” as they imagined them to have been in the past, not as they presently found them.
Reed lived with and photographed the Ojibwe in Minnesota; the Blackfeet, Piegan, Flathead, Cheyenne, and Blood in northern Montana and southern Canada; and the Navajo and Hopi in Arizona. He had begun work on the publication of his collection with the title Reed’s Photographic Art Studies of the North American Indian at the time of his accidental death. This unfinished work is the genesis for ALONE WITH THE PAST, which realizes Roland Reed’s dream.
Roland Reed has been far too long in the shadow of other “Shadow Catchers.” His photographs are true masterpieces of the photographic art that tell a story much larger and broader then just what is depicted.
–Paula Richardson Fleming, Smithsonian Institution
Mr. Lawrence’s exhaustive search for primary documents and historic photography [has become] Reed’s biography. . . . [ALONE with the PAST] comes as close to a catalogue raisonne as will be for Roland Reed.
–Sandra Starr, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Although there has been much criticism of the staging of Native models, I find this argument irrelevant. Instead, I view the photographs as a rare opportunity for Native people to see a part of their culture that has passed.
–Joe Horse Capture, Associate Curator of Native American Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts