Young photographers’ works tell story of a week in their lives

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SEATTLE – Photos by 12 American Indian/Alaska Native teens and young adults are featured in the exhibit, “Native Realities: One Week in Our Lives,” now through Jan. 11 in the Seattle Art Museum.

The show debuted Oct. 26 at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Seattle and moved to the Seattle Art Museum Nov. 7 to complement the exhibition, “S’abadeb – The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists.”

The young photographers completed courses on composition, technique and the historic use of photography in anti-American Indian propaganda, and set out with new digital cameras to capture a week in their lives. With guidance from instructor Jack Storms, Cherokee, and Michelle Storms, each participant selected one photograph that they felt best embodied their life as a Native youth growing up in an urban environment.

Thirteen-year-old photographer Armetris Joe, Paiute/Swinomish, selected a photograph of his little sister. He said it captured her personality, as well as “more than other people’s perspectives and stereotypes of a Native person.” Of the exhibit, he said, “These pictures show that we are regular people, just like everyone else. I think we need more of our stories to be told.”

Marty Bluewater, executive director of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, said in a press release, “Through these photographs, we see that the world that our future Native leaders live in is more diverse – and inherently more complicated – than what most of the rest of us in Indian country can imagine.

“As cultural ambassadors to the larger community, their pictures show us that it truly is impossible to characterize our people according to anyone’s old, preconceived notions.”

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