Posted on Feb 29, 2012
by Aaron Leon.
The concept for this series of photos is to comment on the stereotype Hollywood has created for... more »
The concept for this series of photos is to comment on the stereotype Hollywood has created for First Nations people. Only a few tribes from the Great Plains region wore headdresses, yet headdresses have continuously been used to represent nearly all First Nations in film. This misrepresentation of a culture, which is richly diverse and dependent on regionalism along with the cultural stereotyping that follows such representations struck me, as well as the portraits of Edward S. Curtis. A symbol that one is a Native person has become the headdress, too commonly used to connote ‘Indian’, so if an Indian does not wear a headdress they become less Indian, or are further from the ‘real Indian’ stereotype. This stereotype has become an unattainable figure, and a false one as many of the “Indian” actors, such Iron Eyes Cody in the Crying Indian commercial, were not of Native ancestry (Reel Injun). This collection is comprised of photos, which depict me in items that will aid in being identified as a “true Indian”. An Indian person wearing what the collective of society believes is a true representation of an Indian, as found in a costume shop.
With the modern arrival of the headdress-in-a-bag, the images of natives and the their culture have under gone even more appropriation. The young trend-setting cultural groups have even started to use headdress type apparel as a fashion statement—in some cases to identify themselves as savage. These photos comment on this in a passive way; by taking pictures where I am living everyday life in everyday occurrences while wearing a headdress. I hope to comment on and contrast the flamboyant portrayals that are more common in this garb—its use as a party costume, an outfit for rock stars to use such as Kesha, Juliette Lewis, and the performance of Outkast at the 2004 Grammy award, the hipster headdress, or the movie icon.
This image reflects an idea of how the landscape has changed to accommodate new methods of transport and urbanization. less «
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