On Tuesday, October 8, North Dakotan wet plate collodion artist Shane Balkowitsch had the chance to make several portraits of Swedish environmental activist and 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg during her visit to North Dakota in support of indigenous groups fighting Dakota Access oil pipeline. Many in the Standing Rock tribe consider the pipeline a threat to the region’s clean water and to ancient burial grounds. The shoot took place at Standing Rock, ND where Thunberg was being honored by tribal leaders for her work to fight climate change. During the closing ceremony, Thunberg was bestowed with a Lakota Native American name “Maphiyata echiyatan his win” which translates as “woman who came from the heavens.” (Note: Greta Thunberg was a favorite to win the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee announced earlier this morning that the prize went to Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.)
Shane Balkowitsch’s shoot with Greta Thunberg coincides with the publication this month of his first monograph Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective (Glitterati Editions) which presents a selection of images from his long-term photographic project which aims to capture 1000 wet plate portraits of Native Americans. Following in the footsteps of Edward S. Curtis and Orlando Scott Goff, Balkowitsch pays homage to his home state and its Native American heritage and culture. His photographs highlight the dignity of his subjects, depicting them not as archetypes, but individuals of contemporary identities with historical legacies. In our image-saturated world informed by automation and digital speed, Northern Plains Native Americans offers a fresh perspective on the photographic imagination.
Shane Balkowitsch – Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Glitterati Incorporated (October 2019)
Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 12.5 inches
55 wet plate collodion images
Price: $50.00 US