Pueblo Artists: Portraits

$35.00 each


Toba Pato Tucker’s expressive portraits honoring Pueblo artists were made over a two-and-a-half-year sojourn in the Southwest.

Toba Pato Tucker’s expressive portraits honoring Pueblo artists were made over a two-and-a-half-year sojourn in the Southwest. These photographs form a record for history and art at the end of the twentieth century and portray Tucker’s interest in the individuals and families who pass their artistic traditions from one generation to the next.

But this is more than a book of expert, arresting photographs of Pueblo artists. Tucker has brought in the wisdom of Lonnie Vigil, a Tewa Micaceous Potter, Rina Swentzell, of the Santa Clara Pueblo, and Alfred L. Bush, Curator at the Princeton Collections of Western Americana. In their accompanying essays, they have begun a “bigger-picture” conversation about what this project means. They responsibly address some of the conflicts—real and assumed—of a photography project about the Pueblo community.

For example, Lonnie Vigil discusses the importance of the participation of family and community members. Rina Swentzell addresses the tense relationship between the historical and contemporary Pueblo world. And Alfred L. Bush writes about what he calls “academic categorization:” the neat assumptions often made about values like focusing on the individual, photographing and exploitation. He also gives historical context for portrait-making in the Pueblos.

Toba Pato Tucker is a documentary portrait photographer who has been photographing Native Americans for two decades. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Modern Art, and The Heard Museum, among others, and are exhibited in museums, libraries and universities throughout the country.

Tucker’s portraits reflect the sense of belonging that she so evidently found among the people who welcomed her into their homes, and they attest to her abiding respect and deep appreciation for the Native traditions that continue to carry the Pueblo spirit.

Tucker explains in her introduction: “I wanted to make portraits of individuals and family groups in order to record the remarkable and prevalent incidence where several generations in one family work together creatively, passing their traditions from one to the next, from the old to the young, creating a link from the past to the present. There are many books showing the traditions of Pueblo arts but none that portray in a singular way those who make the work. I set out to photograph the Pueblo people who make things—but more importantly, I wanted to portray them as the unique individuals they are—and to honor them.”




Author: Toba Pato Tucker

Illustrations: Black and white photos by Toba Pato Tucker

Binding Availability: Paperback or Hardcover

Published: 1998

Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Pueblo