Roland Reed (1864 - 1934)

Birth date: 1864 Death date: 1934  
Birth location: Omro, Wisconsin Death location: Colorado Springs, Colorado  
Media: Photography Web site:
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Roland Reed
Born June 22, 1864 in Omro, Wisconsin
Died December 14, 1934 in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Roland Reed was part of an early 20th century school of photographers of Native Americans known as Pictorialists. Part artist and part scientist, they were more interested in recreating an image as they thought it might have been, rather than recording it as it actually was. As Pictorialists, they strove to have their work equally represent unquestioned ethnological accuracy as well as the highest artistic value. Noticing the deleterious impact of reservation life on Native Americans, these photographers worked to recreate in photographs the Indians' lives and ways as they had been, rather than record how they had become.

Reed was born in Omro, Wisconsin near Oshkosh, and lived with his family in a log cabin near an old Native American trail. Living there was very inspirational to Reed, and he keenly observed his surroundings. Indeed, his childhood hero was a Native American named Thundercloud, a chief of the Menominee Tribe. He left home at about the age of 18; worked in a sawmill for awhile; traveled throughout the Southwest; and wound up in Montana in 1892 working for the Great Northern Railway sketching Indians and painting landscape watercolors.

In 1893, in Havre, Montana, he met Civil War veteran Daniel Dutro, who introduced him to photography. After a brief apprenticeship, he became Dutro's partner and they worked together doing portrait work and photographing Indians for the Great Northern. He also photographed the Alaskan Gold Rush in 1897 for the Associated Press, after which he returned to Montana.

Wisconsin Affiliations

No affiliations were found.

Wisconsin Art Organizations

No art organizations were found.

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