Library Journal

Retired businessman and amateur historian Lawrence compiles the work of pictorialist photographer Roland Reed (1864-1934)–much of it never previously seen by the public, and pairs it with the artist’s own words. Lawrence uses Reed’s correspondence, text from photo exhibitions, and handwritten notes to reveal the artist’s motivations for photographing Native American subjects and to explain the staged quality of the photographs–and the occasionally drastic measures he took to construct the scenes. Pictorialism prioritized the evocation of emotion over realism in Reed’s photography, and his comments provide insight into his artistic process and the influence of the pictorialist movement on his work. Lawrence supplies the biographical details of Reed’s life, artfully punctuated by Reed’s photographs of the Ojibwa, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Flathead, Navajo, and Hopi. VERDICT An arresting look at an early 20th-century artist’s portrayals of Native American life as it was in the 19th century and earlier and his manipulation of the increasingly settled landscape to produce romanticized images of Native Americans. Aficionados of Reed’s contemporaries Edward Curtis and Richard Throssel and readers of Native American history will find the work of particular interest. —Rachael Dreyer, American Heritage Ctr., Laramie, WY