Native American Photography
Conducting a photography theme based on a culture has many benefits. Not only does it involve taking photographs that may fit into a niche. It also allows you to understand some of the complexities that each culture brings forth and helps you gain more respect for that particular culture.
Any photographic theme that focuses on any culture should be conducted with respect to the culture's members, its history and their way of life. If you think about it, this should also be the driving force with any other photographic theme as well.
Since this project is meant to focus on the Native American Culture it can prove to be somewhat difficult since you not only have to live in a region where you can find suitable subjects, but be aware that
often some cultures do not look kindly on becoming the focus of any project.
You are not aiming to simply hire models and dress them up in Indian costumes. This would not be fair to the culture but also to your viewers. Pretending that the models are real Native Americans is lying. Being honest with your audience is one of the things that establishes your reputation.
You are also not trying to make fun either. Portray your subjects in situations where they feel comfortable and wearing the native regalia as they are meant to be worn.
You may manipulate the images in post production as you would any other photograph but do not change the original intention of the project.
A part from these suggestions the project should be done as any other regular portray shoot although you may want to include environmental factors and real props whenever possible. These often aid the viewer in identifying the culture and adds realism to the photographs.
The best venues are those that find your subjects in their natural environment and living as they normally live. However, you may do some studio set ups and for these pay attention to realistic representation of your subject matter.
Do not limit yourself to only US Native American photographs There are several South American & Central American countries that boast large populations of their own versions. Adding these too expands your project.
On a studio use 2 photo lamps one on each side and placed at 45 degrees and at least 1 reflector to fully illuminate your subjects just as you would with a standard portrait shoot. Outside, you should not need any light source other than the ambient one but you may consider using a fill in flash to highlight problem areas.
Remember to include regular shots, close ups and wide angles if the scene lends itself for it.
- Native American Art and Culture
The use of art has been used as a form of expression in the Native American way of life for hundreds, even thousands of years.
© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez