|Working on the Frontier ~ Camera and Tripod|
"The 6½-by-8½-inch dry-plate camera seemed to suit [Curtis] best. Time and again, ‘The Chief' . . . turned to the favored old Reversible-Back Premo. . . . No gadgets; just a camera, tripod, focusing cloth, and film."
~ Jean-Antony Du Lac, 1976
"An arid desert . . . is soon a lake. . . . And then comes the sand storm. No horse can travel against it. . . . It may be two hours and it may be ten, and when it is passed your equipment is in sorry shape. . . . It may be snow storms and cold that will cause you to forget that you were ever warm."
~ Edward S. Curtis in a speech, title and date unknown
On one occasion, the burro that was carrying Curtis' photographic equipment fell down a canyon, shattering the precious camera. Curtis spent hours painstakingly piecing the camera back together. For the rest of the field season, he used the broken camera lashed together with a rope.
"When the Navajo does not know the answer, he says, ‘Whoola.' . . . This I do know. That for six years more the work will be driven to the limits of endurance. After that there will be a little more leisure."
Despite the optimism of his forecasts, Curtis devoted 30 years to the North American Indian Project.