It's in my blood.
Since I was given my first camera, when I was a little kid, I have always been fascinated by capturing in a shot what my eyes were seeing around me. The beauty of nature or the smile of a friend, an event or an emotion... Precious pearls to be framed in a photo. Whether freezing a movement or moving the stillness, looking at normality through a different angle or portraying the exceptional, I can choose different perspectives, I can catch reality. I think this passion is in my blood, I inherited it from my Grandpa and then from my Dad, and it has always had a great influence in my life. Come and follow me in my journey searching impressions of life.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Children of Many Colors

Last year in July, I had the great opportunity to attend a Native American Pow Wow.
Redbird, a non-profit Native American and environmental association, organizes every year their signature event, the Children of Many Colors Pow Wow. The association is very active along the year with educational efforts, environmental preservation work, and has the goal to bridge the cultural gap still existing between the Native Nations and other cultures.

A Native American Pow Wow is a gathering of Native American people who meet to dance, to pray, to socialize. It is for sure a moment to relax and dance together, but at the same time it is a sacred event during which honor is given to the Creator, to the elders and to all the living creatures around us. Also, it is an important moment to preserve and transmit the culture and traditions of Native Americans to the younger generations and to the other cultures.
The Children of Many Colors Pow Wow is a family-oriented, inter-tribal gathering. Everybody is welcomed to attend, and the whole environment is very friendly. Many volunteers work hard to organize the event, first among all the founder and main soul of Redbird, Corina Roberts, who is also a very good photographer and with whom I have been in touch since last year.

To celebrate the upcoming 2013 Pow Wow next July, I would like to try and have a count-down on these blog pages, featuring some of the dancers I had the honor to take pictures of, last year.

For this first post, I would like to feature a beautiful dancer named Susan Jackson. Her family name is Sackhavaum – which means She/(He) Who Watches The Water – and she is Quechan from Winterhaven, California, Coyote Clan; and also Laguna Pueblo from New Mexico, Badger Clan.

                                      400mm f/10 1/800 sec ISO 640

Susan immediately got my attention as one of the most active dancers, and the way she danced was communicating the importance she was giving to that dance and the pride she was dancing with.

She is an all around dancer, but in this case she was dancing Women's Jingle Dress, contemporary style. This is one of the oldest dances, that spread around all the different Native American Nations. It is a healing dance, and as Susan herself told me, the story tells that a long time ago a young girl was very ill on her death bed. Her father started to have recurring dreams and visions where four women were dancing around his daughter. They were wearing a special dress that was making a particular sound. Every time the women were dancing around her, the little girl was getting stronger and stronger until, after the fourth time, she was even able to dance with them and was completely healed.

              220-260mm f/10 1/800-1/1000 sec ISO 640

Once the man woke up, he immediately started searching for that particular sound, but despite trying different kind of bells, he could not find the right one. Not until he hit two tobacco lids together and noticed the sound was very similar. He started collecting tobacco lids to make these special four dresses. He then asked four women to wear the dresses and dance around his daughter. As in his visions, his daughter started getting stronger and stronger each time the women danced around her, until she was able to dance with them and be cured.

                                     135mm f/11 1/640 sec ISO 640

In these photos, Susan is wearing a bright yellow dress because she's dancing "contemporary style", opposed to the "old style" where the colors are darker, usually no plumes or feathers are worn, and the foot-work is not as fast and elaborate like in the contemporary style.

Very impressive is her bead-work that she did herself, putting a lot of time, effort and prayers into it. I am very thankful to Susan for sharing with me (and with you) the special meaning that her bead-work has to her. She used a circular design which represents the medicine wheel and our Earth. Her main color is a sky blue which represents the sky above us. The color burst inside the circle represents the color of the people living on the Earth. The dentalium shells represent the ocean and the creatures living in our oceans.

                                    400mm f/10 1/800 sec ISO 640

Also part of her dancing regalia, the fan – made of eagle feathers – not only serves its practical use (dancing in the sun for hours makes you feel very hot), but has also a spiritual meaning, and Susan uses it to send her prayers up to the Creator or to who needs them. When it's raised, Susan is honoring the drum, her elders and those who cannot dance anymore, as well as those who passed on before her.

                                      150mm f/10 1/800 sec ISO 640

I would like to thank you again Susan for taking the time to contribute to this post and for her dance at the pow wow, and Corina for the great help she gave me.
Follow the blog for the next steps in the countdown to the upcoming 2013 Children of Many Colors Pow Wow.


  1. Ciao Guido, non conoscevo questa tua passione per la fotografia! Complimenti!!

    1. Grazie Daniela! Sono sempre stato appassionato (come puoi vedere sfogliando le pagine di introduzione e del profilo) ma ho ripreso un po' più seriamente solo di recente e il blog mi sprona a continuare. Sono contento che tu lo abbia visitato e spero che tornerai anche per i prossimi post! E tu, tutto bene?
      A presto!

  2. Si tutto bene grazie!
    Anch'io ho un blog... di disegni ovviamente! ^_^
    Se ti va dacci un'occhiata!