In Silent Warriors, Eric Klemm recalls the photographic tradition of American photographer Edward Curtis, whose pictorialist aesthetic created a romanticized ethnography of North American Indians and constructed a cultural memory rooted in sentiment. For this series, Klemm traveled through Canada and the United States, compiling 300 portraits over the course of one year.
Klemm deconstructs the grand narrative associated with Curtis’ images of the North American Indian and his portraits reveal a contemporary, straightforward and vital depiction of reality. While Curtis embraced pose and embellishment, Klemm decidedly avoids this, and relies on the spontaneity of his encounters with his subjects and the relationship fostered from that moment. Whether capturing a subject dressed for a ceremony or in everday clothes, Klemm photographs against a pure white backdrop and uses only natural light, removing any opportunity for assumption. There is no pretense and Klemm's images silently communicate pathos, pride and defiance. These uncompromising portraits offer a relevant and realistic visual record of the human spirit.
This award winning series will be published by Stiedl in the fall of 2008 and a limited edition version of the book will be available during the exhibition. A selection of Klemm’s Shavings series will also be on view.