Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis.
At the time Curtis began his quest, the Indian Wars were over, and many American actually thought "the best Indian is a dead Indian." Native Americans had no rights. They were not even citizens. Getting people interested in his project was an almost impossible task. The early volumes did, however, win praise from important newspapers and magazines. He was for a time the most famous photographer in the country, which introduced him to powerful men, including President Theodore Roosevelt and financier J. P. Morgan.
Like photographer Mathew Brady and painter George Catlin before him, Edward Curtis died a poor and mostly forgotten man after a career dedicated to visually documenting American life. Like Brady, he was the country's most sought photographer for a time, and like Catlin, he spent his years among Native Americans. According to Egan, the nation owes a great debt to the three for the body of their work which now informs us what our forefathers disregarded.
In Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, Egan takes us back to a time when travel and communications were difficult. Among his stories are two in which the national press reported incorrectly that Curtis had died, once at sea and once in Alaska. Mark Twain died only one premature death in the press. When Curtis really died, few noticed.
Readers interested in true adventure, the history of photography, and the story of Native Americans will enjoy Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher.
Egan, Timothy. Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. 370p. ISBN 9780618969029.