Native Americans – A Vibrant Culture from Werner Forman Archive
The native Americans were a diverse and fascinating culture on the North American continent. After European settlers came, they suffered a long decline, including death and
ethnic cleansing, till they were herded into reservations in the late 19th Century. Despite these events, their heritage, culture and art remain strong. Photographer Werner Forman explored this world in three books covering the original peoples of different parts of the USA.
The different tribes had very diverse lives – some fished, some farmed, some relied on hunting buffalo herds, and they each had their own mythologies, ceremonies and lifestyles. The inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest were fisher-people, giving their lives meaning in the famous Potlatch ceremony – where they gave away, consumed, or destroyed valuable property. The Great Plains Indians, were the classic warrior nomads, seen in a thousand Western films, who roamed the great grasslands following the buffalo.
Northerly, their Inuit cousins adapted to very harsh conditions, mainly existing on an diet high in animal protein, particularly from seals, which fed and clothed them in the cold of Northern Canada and Alaska.
Themis Halvantzi, Art Consultant for the Werner Forman Archive says, “The mysticism, connection with nature and mythology of the Native American tribes fascinated Werner Forman. He photographed objects and significant landscapes across the North American continent and published his work in two volumes “The People of the Totem” and “The Indians of the Great Plains”. With his book on “The Eskimos” he completed a trilogy on the subject and explored in depth these fascinating cultures”.
Werner Forman Archive has a wide collection of Native American images covering aspects of these vibrant and unique people and their lifestyle.
Barbara Heller, Director Werner Forman Archive, says, “These are unique and
atmospheric shots of one of the most significant buildings in British
History and we are proud to have them in our collection.”
“Now that I have logged into your site, I can say that I am
thrilled with the quality and beauty of the images there. There is no
source quite like the Werner Forman Archive.”
James Linnehan, Berkeley City College, USA
All photographs copyright Werner Forman Archive.
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