Capturing Native American Culture

By: Sanjay Verma

Photographer Clark Dunbar embarked on a remarkable journey.

He aimed to refresh his portfolio through portraits of Native Americans.

Dunbar was captivated by the people he met at Native American powwows.

He was drawn to their rich traditions, strong sense of family, and vibrant culture.

The stories, dances, and events further fueled his passion.

The positive initial response reinforced the importance of his endeavor.

Powwows are vital gatherings for Native Americans.

These events allow tribe members to celebrate, eat, dance, and sing.

They offer an opportunity to honor and connect with their heritage.

Dunbar attended powwows in Montana, featuring tribes from across the U.S. and Canada.

The process involved seeking permission and setting up a mini-studio.

Dunbar displayed some prints to showcase his project.

Portrait sessions were arranged at the powwows.

Dunbar carried a gallery of images from earlier sessions on his phone.

During the shoots, conversations, stories, and laughter ensued.

He often asked participants to refer more people to join the project.

Many sessions became family affairs, involving kids, uncles, and aunts.

Dunbar used specialized equipment for his photography.

His tools included a Canon R5 camera and a 24-70mm Sigma Art lens.

He employed a softbox light with a reflector to illuminate his subjects.

The mid-gray background was used for easier editing in Photoshop.

Raw editing and grading were integral to the post-processing

The project's greatest reward for Dunbar is the opportunity to showcase the character and stories of the Native American community and their rich culture, which has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response and newfound appreciation from a wide audience.


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