POTD: Pow Wow #3

POTD: Pow Wow #3Pow Wow #3
Bozeman, Montana

This particular group of dancers are wearing one of my favorite styles of outfits. (I’m sure they have a name but I don’t know what it is.) They are just entering the arena, only started to pick up their feet to dance. The numbers on the dancers are to identify them for competition purposes I presume, although I don’t believe there was a competition aspect to the Grand Entry.

Like this image, the rest of this series are going to be monochrome. While the colors of the regalia is certainly not to be ignored at these events I still think the patterns and shapes, which are of even greater interest to me, are better emphasized by presenting them without the distraction of color.

I don’t usually tint my monochrome images this much but I wanted to give this series a bit more of a vintage feel commensurate with the historic aspects of the dances and the regalia. Because it is a historic effect I was after I chose to use the same toning colors as the famous Edward Curtis Indian photographs. Tints of his photos vary quite a bit, at least in their internet presentations. I chose to copy the color from this particular image of an Indian named One Blue Beard:


2 thoughts on “POTD: Pow Wow #3”

  1. Larry, I think the performers refer to their dress as “regalia”. I’ve heard they take offence at their clothing being referred to as “costumes.”

    I love that you picked a tint that matches Edward Curtis’ prints. It’s true that many have varying shades of red or yellow but I like this brown. Have you read Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Tim Egan? It is a fascinating tale of Curtis’ life, though sad given the outcome of his great endeavor.

    BTW, thanks for the description of your photographic adventures at various native events. I’ll keep them in mind for future reference.

    1. Kathy, I did a little research and in fact you are correct that I was being a bit culturally insensitive with my use of the word costume. While it can refer to simple clothing styles, the most common usage of the word costume implies it’s something you wear to pretend to be someone else. For example, to describe a banker dressed up in a suit for work, we wouldn’t say he was wearing a banker’s costume. These dancers certainly aren’t pretend Native American Dancers! Also, costume, even in the terms of simple style doesn’t really describe how impressive these dancers’ outfits are. So I’ve gone back and changed the word in the post. Thanks for the heads up there.

      I did read Tim Egan’s book some time ago. Too bad Curtis did not live long enough to see how famous his work was to become.

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