In 1900 Edward Curtis was in his early thirties and already a highly respected and successful photographer when he forsook the easy road and set out on a far riskier path, the one he devoted the rest of his life to: chronicling on film the real lives of the imperiled Great Plains and Southwestern Native American tribes. Curtis knew things were changing fast for the first Americans and wanted to document their ways before they disappeared forever. He wound up taking more than 40,000 photographs. Curtis' images are breathtaking, possessed of all the sweeping power and majesty of the American West and its indigenous inhabitants. You can sample a brief overview of this master's work in Gallery 321 of the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or www.slam.org). Edward Curtis: Visions of Native America is an exhibit of eleven of Curtis' photos; it opens Friday, January 18, and remains on display through Sunday, June 16. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is free.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 18. Continues through June 16, 2013