Born to a Civil War veteran and Reverend in 1868, Edward S. Curtis took an interest in photography from an early age, eventually apprenticing under a photographer in St. Paul, Minnesota at the age of seventeen. After moving to Seattle with his family soon thereafter, Edward purchased a camera and a half interest in a local photographic studio.
In 1898, Curtis set out to photograph Mt. Rainier, and while there, encountered a team of scientists who were lost, most notably George Bird Grinnell. Grinnell, an expert on Native Americans, took an interest in Curtis's work and invited him to photograph the Blackfeet Indian tribe in Montana. On this assignment, Curtis honed his skills as a photographer and began his lifelong passion of photographing Native American tribes.
Self-portrait by Edward S. Curtis [Public domain]