This Photographer Brings A Long-Overdue Spotlight To Native Americans

This Photographer Brings A Long-Overdue Spotlight To Native Americans

By: Oliver G. Alvar -

Adam Sings In The Timber is a photojournalist with an incredible purpose: to capture the life of Native Americans and preserve their culture for future generations.

Adam Sings In The Timber is a photojournalist whose life's work revolves around documenting the lives and culture of Native Americans across the U.S., in an attempt to tell their stories with their own voice, rather than the voice of a non-Native (as has usually been the case).

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

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An admirable purpose

There's indeed a remarkable drive behind Sings In The Timber's quest. He's absolutely right when he points out that much (if not most) of Native American history has been told by non-Natives, mostly white colonizers who've dedicated their position of power to either undermine or utterly erode the role of Native Americans in building the U.S. as it stands today, and, more importantly, have downplayed the violence behind stripping Native Americans of their lands and traditions.

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

That's why Sings In The Timber's work is so important. "I think it’s time we use our own voices to tell our story," he writes in his webpage. "I think it is fundamentally important for Native Americans to preserve our culture for future generations. As a photojournalist I help do that visually, by making photographs and video of Native American life."

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

Sings In The Timber belongs to the tribe known as Apsáalooke (Crow), and ultimately intends to document its life and culture to preserve it for those to come. And if his past and current work is any indication, we should expect him to accomplish his goal and delight the whole world in the process.

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

In his "Indigenizing Colonized Spaces," for example, the photographer captures Native American women in their traditional outfits occupying urban spaces "in order to illustrate that, wherever a person goes, they're on Native land." That's the kind of long-overdue spotlight this community needs, intelligently, and critically challenging the many instances in which Native Americans have been silenced, under-represented, and marginalized. It is a truly moving way to reclaim the autonomy they deserve.

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

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Behind a brilliant career

Adam Sings In The Timber was born and raised in Montana, and currently works out of Chicago. A documentary photographer and filmmaker, Sings In The Timber studied journalism at the University of Montana, Missoula, specializing in photojournalism. He is also a graduate of the Freedom Forum's American Indian Journalism Institute, has had prestigious internships in several major newspapers (including the Billings Gazette and Great Falls Tribune) and participated in the Eddie Adams Workshop with a scholarship as the top student.

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

As you can see, Sings In The Timber has dedicated his career as a photojournalist to documenting Native American life, hoping to, in his own words, "capture all the nuances of Native Americans and to present them to the non-Native world as well as preserve them for future generations of Native American."

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

His photographs have appeared in a vast array of important magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, USA Today, Indian Country Today, Native People’s Magazine, The Virginian-Pilot, The Great Falls Tribune, The Billings Gazette, the Montana Tourism, and many other international publications. 

His work has also been shown at The Harold Washington Library in Chicago, the Paramount Theater in Seattle, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and The Trickster Art Gallery. He's also given several talks at many major universities throughout America, sharing his knowledge and encouraging Native American students to tell their stories.

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

Sings In The Timber is currently working on a photo book titled Apsáalooke Nationmeant to document in detail the lives of the Apsáalooke tribe in Montana. And regardless of whether you're Native American or not, you really should keep an eye on this artist. We'll probably be hearing about his work in the future.

sings in the timber photographer native american@singsinthetimber

(Cover photo: @singsinthetimber)

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