American history is filled with tales about Native American people and their culture. Our current world makes it hard to imagine what their daily lives were like, which led Paul Ratner, who works as a filmmaker, to present a special collection of colorized Native American photos.
The pictures were taken in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and feature members of different tribes from around the country. The majority of the photos were meticulously hand painted to bring out the beauty and pride of Native Americans. Others had Kodachrome applied for a more natural appearance. While the images are impressive in their original black and white form, they became stunning masterpieces of time gone by after color was added.
As original Native American culture diminished in the 20th century, those living in cities far removed from prairies, mesas and mountains wanted to learn more about the real lives of these peoples. Ratner stated the added color is itself a form of art and adds depth and complexity to the photos and makes the subjects seem more real to those looking at them.
Ratner said the photos help preserve a disappearing culture and demand recognition and respect for people who were misrepresented and mistreated throughout American history.