To be native in the year 2012 is to be modern. As a whole, we are both modern and traditional, full of culture and spirit passed down from many generations, but seeking to live in this new world and embrace it.
I began the NATIVE project, taking portraits of modern indigenous people last spring, not knowing it would evolve into a huge undertaking. It’s taken me from the cold interiors of traditional houses in Alaska to the bright summery forests of Oregon. I’ve learned so much about what it means to be a modern traditionalist native myself, as well as more about all the diversity that surrounds native attitudes from the big city to the remote village.
There’s so much to say about this kind of portraiture, steeped in sepia tones and shot with artificial light, but I’ll let you, the viewer, have the fun of diving in yourself. Thanks for letting me share.
Many thanks to the NW Portland Indian Health Board, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and Daybreak Star Cultural Center for their help in making these portraits.