The Shadow Catcher - Timothy Egan
Timothy Egan won the 2006 National Book Award for The Worst Hard Time, his chronicle of the 1930s Dust Bowl catastrophe as experienced by ordinary people. His new book, Short Nights of The Shadow Catcher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28), is an equally vivid and engaging account of the life of Edward Curtis (1868-1952), the brilliant photographer of Native Americans. Hailing from Seattle, Curtis began tinkering with cameras as a boy and was largely self-taught as a photographer. He was also an amateur anthropologist and archeologist, gradually combining his interests to document Native American culture. At a time when popular media scorned American Indians, Curtis, dubbed the “Shadow Catcher” by the Hopis, dedicated himself to presenting these peoples with sympathy and dignity—as is apparent in the examples of his work included in this book. Unfortunately, Curtis was also an amateur businessman and died penniless.