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ERIC Number: EJ947818
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0275-7664
Acting for the Camera: Horace Poolaw's Film Stills of Family, 1925-1950
Jerman, Hadley
Great Plains Quarterly, v31 n2 p105-123 Spr 2011
In the late 1920s, Kiowa photographer Horace Poolaw began documenting daily life in southwestern Oklahoma with the camera. As Poolaw began making dramatically posed, narrative-rich portraits of family members, historian Lewis Mumford asserted that the modern individual now viewed him or herself "as a public character, "being watched"" by others. He further suggested that humankind developed a "camera-eye" way of looking at the world and at oneself as if continuously on display. Among Native Americans this sense of constantly posing for a camera--usually an outsider's camera--was certainly not a new development in 1930. Comanche writer Paul Chaat Smith compares the influence of cameras and Colt revolvers on Native peoples: "If one machine nearly wiped us out... another gave us immortality." Certainly, the invention of Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre (1787-1851) impacted Native Americans' sense of self. The same could be said of motion pictures. In Smith's words, "We starred in scores of movies. The movies gave us international fame. Without them, Comanches would be an obscure chapter in Texas history books. With them, we live forever."
Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1155 Q Street, Hewit Place, P.O. Box 880214, Lincoln, NE 68588-0214. Tel: 402-472-3082; Fax: 402-472-0463; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oklahoma