In the latest essay for his Race Stories column for the New York Times, Maurice Berger, CADVC, discusses the Russian-American Photographer Vincent Soboleff’s pictures of Native Alaska.
Berger writes about Soboleff and the storytelling power of his imagery, especially when compared to other photos of the time. Before digesting the race-related implications of the images, he discusses the importance of the unique pictures:
As 19th-century Native Americans were forced to adapt to a world dynamically altered by war, racial brutality, disease and displacement, photographic depictions of them habitually trafficked in stereotypes built on an implicit comparison between the new, “civilized” Indian and the tradition-bound “savage.” Mr. Soboleff’s pictures were more respectful of, and ultimately more informative about, his subjects, despite the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church, which began working in Alaska in the mid-18th century, was actively proselytizing in the Tlingit community.
Read “A Russian-American Photographing Native Alaska” at the New York Times Lens Blog.
Berger’s Race Stories column has featured several essays centered upon race and photography including, Malcolm X as image maker, Ken Gonzales-Day, images of emancipation, the photographs of Deborah Will, the civil rights work of James Karales, and the woman in a civil rights photo, fifty seven years later.