Saturday, June 20, 2009


Our new book Faces From the Land: twenty years of powwow tradition is full of page after page of gorgeous images. The photographers - Ben and Linda Marra - have spent the last two decades traveling around North America making portraits of the dancers at powwows both large and small.
Each full-color portrait is accompanied by a brief narrative from the dancer. According to the Introduction, these portraits are often shot quickly between dances, which probably accounts for the brevity of the narratives. As you look at each person, you become thirsty for more information about their regalia and their personal powwow history. How many years have they been dancing? Who in their family taught them to dance? Have they mentored relatives themselves?
Some of the regalia has been passed down through the generations, from mother to daughter or uncle to nephew, while other dancers have created their own regalia. The colors and patterns symbolize important aspects of their life, from military service to clan references to traditional family designs.
The beauty and intricacy of the regalia is perfectly showcased in this book, and since the Marras give copies of their work to each subject, these portraits occupy a place of honor in many homes across America and Canada.

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