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Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis

by Timothy Egan

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2013, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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CarolK (10/12/13)

Breathtaking historical non-fiction
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis was such an interesting read for me on many levels. There's the history of Seattle, the culture of its American Indian Tribes, the beauty of the Cascades and Mount Rainier, the lure of the west of long ago. What makes this book shine is the story of the Shadow Catcher himself, Edward Curtis, a brilliant photographer, a man with a challenge that would haunt his soul and become the meaning and also the obsession of his life. His dream to record through images and word, a twenty volume set detailing the dying rituals, stories and culture of The North American Indian.

Beginning in 1900, Timothy Egan takes us on a three decade journey unfolding in chapters of time , Curtis's "big idea" using a technique similar to the photograph stills Curtis took.

I was amazed that a man who was once renowned, died penniless, virtually alone, with his life's work unappreciated. He never knew how important his accomplishments would be. Was it all worth it in the end?

Edward Curtis could have been a fine portrait photographer and wealthy man but at what cost to his own plan, his dream, his desires.
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