George Catlin’s was born in Wyoming where the horrible Indian Massacre war had taken place. His father a lawyer, tried desperately to encourage him to take as a profession for himself. After three years of practicing law he sold his entire law library, took his rifle and fishing-tackle and traded in for brushes and paint-pots. He began the art of painting without the instructions of a teacher or adviser.
During his time of painting a delegation of some 10-15 noble and dignified Indians arrived in the city wrapped in their robes and quills of the war-eagle, turning heads as they walked through the streets. It was this event in George’s life that influenced him greatly on the customs and costumes of the American Indians.
“Black and blue cloth and civilization are destined, not only to veil, but to obliterate the grace and beauty of Nature. Man, in the simplicity and loftiness of his nature, unrestrained and unfettered by the disguises of art, is surely the most beautiful model for the painter, – and the country which he hails is unquestionably the best study or school of the arts in the work: such, I am sure, from the models I have seen, is the wilderness of North America. “
His mission was to preserve a pictorial illustration of the things he witnessed. He spent his life determined to reach every tribe of Indians in North America, to view their villages and costumes, to draw and preserve for future generations.
So is it, that I to, photograph the costume and lives of the many tribes of bird life, to preserve as a document and witness to a sometimes declining species.