Abstract

This essay considers the largely forgotten photographic portfolio by the American surrealist artist David Hare, Pueblo Indians of New Mexico As They Are Today, published in New York in 1941. I wish to examine the critical relation of Hare’s photographic portraits in this portfolio to the photo-based practices and procedures of ethnographic surrealism as it turned toward surrealist ethnography. I would argue for this criticality even if Hare’s grasp of these practices may have been largely intuitive. Hare’s bridging of the genres of ethnographic photography and studio portraiture had mixed results. Hare did not publish or exhibit his photographs in a manner that delivered a critique of surrealist attitudes toward the Native object as these were formulated in surrealist publications and exhibitions at the time. Nonetheless his portraits in Pueblo Indians of New Mexico As They Are Today do interrupt, by formalist and other means, the “defiled” representation of Native people within traditional ethnographic photography. I argue that Hare engaged several of his Native sitters with an attitude of mutuality and empathy. We might uncover how his series generally contests the relation the surrealists were otherwise establishing with Native culture in these same years.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1549-3377
Print ISSN
0743-6831
Pages
pp. 76-95
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-30
Open Access
No
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