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North Dakotan Shane Balkowitsch's quest to take 1000 Native American wet-plates portraits in the present day is one step closer with this second volume. In this series of wet-plate collodion book of portraits of Northern Plains Native Americans, the photographer/author continues with his distinctive and unique presentation that is the only one to have ever been instigated or created for this particular group of Native Americans. The technique he uses, wet-plate collodion and the eye of the author align to present a masterful, unique, and respectful array that is sumptuous and compelling. Here the subjects are presented in their native garb, giving he subjects the opportunity explore their self-image, in a safe space where who they are how they see themselves are certain to be respected and admired.

Wet-plate collodion is one of the earliest forms of photography. A wet-plate photographer makes a film based on a piece of glass or metal using collodion, submerges it in a silver nitrate solution to make it light sensitive, and then exposes the photograph usually in an old style wood bellows camera box and antique brass lens from the 1800's. The end result is a one-of-a-kind, archival object of art that will last many lifetimes.

Shane and his Native American sitters have collaborated in the creation of a piece of contemporary history using classical methodology. The legacy he has created is indeed, who they were, what they were like, and what they did. There is nothing like it in the library of Native American portraiture in the modern era. The photographer's effort is to show that his subjects are still here--with their culture, dignity, and traditions.


12.5 in H | 9.5 in W | 0.8 in T
Hardcover, 123 pages, October 17, 2023