Kiowa photographer Poolaw is focus of spring Great Plains Quarterly

Released on 05/18/2011, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., May 18th, 2011 —
Great Plains Quarterly spring issue
Great Plains Quarterly spring issue

In the spring issue of Great Plains Quarterly, an academic journal published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, researchers wrote about Kiowa photographer Horace Poolaw and his contributions to American Indian history and art history.

In "Some Thoughts on 'Taking' Pictures: Imaging 'Indians' and the Counter-Narratives of Visual Sovereignty," Morgan F. Bell, a master's degree candidate at the University of Washington, discusses how late 19th- and early 20th-century photographs of American Indians forged stereotypical ideals of Indians.

Hadley Jerman studied the experiences of Poolaw in the motion picture industry and compared his experiences to the visual drama he composed in his still photographs in her article, "Acting for the Camera: Horace Poolaw's Film Stills of Family, 1925-1950." "Poolaw positions his sitters as if they are actors before a motion-picture camera, participating in narratives of his making," said Jerman, a graphic designer at the Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma.

In "Modernity, Multiples, and Masculinity: Horace Poolaw's Postcards of Elder Kiowa Men," Laura E. Smith, assistant professor of art history at Michigan State University, focused on the postcards that Poolaw sold at local fairs in the early to mid-20th century. Smith said, "In order for the postcards to appeal to the greatest number of consumers, he had to compose his images and select subject matter that fit into common visual assumptions and expectations of Indian identity."

Thomas Poolaw, an artist based in Norman, Okla., and the grandson of Horace Poolaw, concludes this thematic issue with, "Horace Poolaw: Photographer, Mentor, Grandfather." Poolaw said, "There are at least 2,000 silver nitrate negatives in the Horace Poolaw collection, and as many stories to go along with them." Poolaw describes some of those stories as well as the history of his family.

Current issues of the journal may be purchased in the Great Plains Art Museum gift shop at 1155 Q St., or by calling the Center for Great Plains Studies at (402) 472-3082. Order forms are available online at

WRITER: Linda Ratcliffe, Publications Specialist, Great Plains Studies, (402) 472-3965

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