"Knowing that she is an outsider whose work has won her rare access . . . she is respectful. . . . The results are portraits with an elegant spareness and realism. Tucker's efforts have earned her the regard of the people she photographs."—Life
"When I look at old pictures of the last century, I study the faces of my people, my relatives. I see details of clothes and home. I search for information in backgrounds. I place names with faces, and I see the continuing relationship between land and people, the continuity of life. I am pleased and grateful that someone back then understood the importance of records. . . . They can be grateful to the perseverance, patience, integrity, and genius of Toba Tucker, who recorded for the future this moment in the ongoing history of the Onondaga Nation."—Faithkeeper Turtle Clan, Oren R. Lyons, Onondaga Nation
"Toba Tucker's vision of the Native American is authentic and compelling because her work consistently demonstrates a sensitive recognition of the collaborative essence of photography and a reverence for the sense of community that lies at the core of the American Indian experience."—Alfred L. Bush, Curator, Princeton Collections of Western Americana
"With its strong and stirring photographs and its accompanying essays and drawings by distinguished Onondaga spiritual leaders, is a very valuable contribution to our sense and understanding of a Six Nations people who still have much to teach us, if only we would listen."—Peter Matthiessen
Toba Pato Tucker, who has photographed the Navajo in the Southwest, the Shinnecock and Montauk Indians on eastern Long Island, and the Pueblo people of New Mexico and Arizona, now creates a record of the Onondaga Nation, the Native people who have inhabited the hills of central New York for fifteen thousand years.
Using a simple black backdrop and available daylight, her portraits show the timeless, contemplative images that reify the spirit that has maintained the Onondaga for centuries. Of her work Tucker has said, “Native Americans are an ancient people striving to retain their traditional way of life and integrity while confronting modern society and the dominant culture. I want to record them, for history and for art, at the end of the twentieth century.”
About the Author
Toba Pato Tucker, a documentary portrait photographer working primarily with Native Americans, has been recording continuity and change in American culture for two decades. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the National Museum of the American Indian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, and the Heard Museum, among others. Her work is widely exhibited in museums, libraries, and universities throughout the country. Recent books include Pueblo Artists: Portraits, and Heber Springs Portraits: Continuity and Change in the World Disfarmer Photographed. Her work has been published in Life and Native Peoples magazines.
9.5 x 12, 132 pages, 73 duotone, 8 black and white illustrations