Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Spotlight: Navajo Nation 1950: Traditional Life in Photographs

Photography is a wonderfully artistic medium and it can convey so much without one word being attached to a particular image. When you look closely at a photograph there is so much to examine as you gaze upon this moment frozen in time.

Navajo Nation 1950: Traditional Life in Photographs by Jonathan B. Wittenberg, published by Glitterati Incorporated, http://glitteratiincorporated.com

In the book,  Navajo Nation 1950: Traditional Life in Photographs by Jonathan B. Wittenberg, published by Glitterati Incorporated, the beauty of capturing time and place is definitely evident. Wittenberg takes readers on a journey through the Dinetah, the land of the Navajo people.

Jonathan B. Wittenberg
The photographs in the book are truly beautiful and feature desert landscapes alongside portraits of medicine men, weavers, and many others on the reservation. There is a noble air to the portraits that depict the Navajo people and it makes one grateful to be allowed a peek inside this amazing culture. This collection of photos is extra special because Wittenberg was the only non-native photographer to have access to the Navajo people and lands during the years 1950 to 1953. Readers are given a very rare look at the lives of the Navajo people. As a reader, I was moved by the beauty and realness of each image.

Weaving a rug depicting corn, the tree of life

There is such great beauty in seeing the day-to-day lives of people depicted in photographs. When photography is done really well in the way that Wittenberg has, there is an intimacy that is shown without compromising a person's privacy. We are given just enough to see our shared humanity while there is space given to the person being photographed.

Hosteen Bahe Slim, Singer

I found this wonderful book to be a great reminder of the sheer beauty of humanity. The culture of the Navajo Nation is a rich one and as readers we are given the gift of learning as we gaze upon these glorious photographs.

The Rolling Mule, standing rocks

In the front flap of the book, there is a beautiful Navajo Proverb, which reads:

I have been to the end of the earth.
I have been to the end of the waters.
I have been to the end of the sky.
I have been to the end of the mountains.
I have found none that are not my friends.
(Navajo Proverb - From Navajo Nation 1950: Traditional Life in Photographs by Jonathan B. Wittenberg, published by Glitterati Incorporated, http://glitteratiincorporated.com )

Willie Cly overlooking Monument Valley

This proverb perfectly encompasses the spirit of this amazing book by Jonathan B. Wittenberg. It evokes the serenity and real beauty of the Navajo Nation and their beautiful world view.

Navajo Nation 1950: Traditional Life in Photographs can be purchased here.


*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

1 comment:

Vijay Nair said...

Worshipping the elements
I embraced
My religion
Where man prayed in
Vain
These bells they
Rang true
A language of
Eclectic hues-