A fight for accurate representation against stereotypes
May 1, 2018 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Natives Photograph opens today. The site highlights Native American visual journalists, to "bring balance to the way we tell stories about Indigenous people and spaces." It also offers a database for editors seeking to assign indigenous photographers in North America, "to tell the stories of their communities and to reflect on how we tell these stories."

Natives Photograph currently highlights the work of 21 indigenous photographers. It was created by Josué Rivas, himself an indigenous photographer originally from Mexico, and Daniella Zalcman, the founder of Women Photograph, an organization devoted to increasing opportunities for women and non-binary photographers. Mr. Rivas spent seven months between 2016-17 living in a prayer camp at Standing Rock during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

New York Times, Lens Column: Native American Photographers Unite to Challenge Inaccurate Narratives
Standing Rock was a unifying event for other photographers of native backgrounds, like Brian Adams, an Inuit photographer in Anchorage. The protest was significant because “it brought so many First Nations people together, including Alaska Natives,” said Mr. Adams, a member of Natives Photograph’s board.

“As an Alaska native, when I first started seeing the videos on social media of the Water Protectors being sprayed with water cannons, tear gassed and shot at with rubber bullets days before Thanksgiving, I felt like I was watching my own family members being beaten, and I had to get down there,” he said.

Because his father’s family hails from Kivalina, a small Inuit island village on Alaska’s northwest coast, his personal history helps him gain access to native communities throughout the north of Alaska. He gets emails from photographers and filmmakers from “the lower 48 or Europe” asking for help in connecting to native villages in Alaska and “looking for names of people, travel info, anything I can give them — always with no promise of pay or job,” he said. Often they have very little understanding of the culture and history of the villages they want to document, he added.
posted by zarq (3 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

Matika Wilbur's Project 562, which was the subject of a Mefi post by Deoridhe in 2013.
In 2012 Matika Wilbur sold everything in her Seattle apartment and created Project 562 which reflects her commitment to visit, engage and photograph all 562 plus Native American sovereign territories in the United States.

Over 10 years ago Matika Wilbur began to develop a monumental aspiration that has led to Project 562. To help develop a body of imagery and cultural representations of Native Peoples to counteract the relentlessly insipid, one-dimensional stereotypes circulating in mainstream media, historical textbooks and the culture industry. To create positive indigenous role models to do justice to the richness and diversity and lived experiences of Indian Country.

This project has driven her to travel hundreds of thousands of miles, many in her RV the “Big Girl” but also by horseback through the Grand Canyon, by train, plane, and boat and on foot across all 50 states.

posted by zarq at 10:12 AM on May 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

I love everything about this. Photography has been a white man's game for a long time, and it shows. I try to make a point of photographers with marginalized backgrounds on Instagram, which usually means women but when I find an indigenous person taking pictures that I like I definitely make it a point to follow and like and comment (supportively) on their stuff. We need more of this.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:39 PM on May 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

The links to the home pages for each of them are deep rabbit holes. Some beautiful & humbling work here.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:02 PM on May 1, 2018

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