David Neel is a professional photographer and hereditary Northwest Coast Native artist. He apprenticed as a photographer in Kansas and Texas before returning to Vancouver; he now photographs contemporary Native Indian culture in the Canada and the USA. He has published two photography books about Pacific Indigenous culture, and his third is in progress; he has had solo exhibitions in major public institutions, such as: the Smithsonian Institution - NMAI, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography and the National Library of Canada.
Excert from Davids upcoming book 'Life As Art':
The opening event for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in New York City in 1994 was a day to remember. Located in the financial district at the bottom of Manhattan Island the gallery was the newest addition to the Smithsonian Institution family of museums. They had commissioned me to do a series of large format photography portraits, and I had spent part of the previous year travelling to Chicago, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe and other places photographing some of the leading Native American artists, authors and educators. The people I photographed were wonderful and I had learnt a great deal and seen another side of Native America, but nothing had prepared for seeing the exhibition itself. The exhibition featured the finest Native Indian artifacts from the Smithsonian collection, which is probably the best in North America, with comments by contemporary Native Americans; who I had been commissioned to photograph. No one had mentioned that my portraits would be exhibited as 7 feet tall prints mounted around the perimeter of the exhibition space. My images were prominently displayed in a major Manhattan museum and I had to smile to myself and consider how far I come from my days as a student photographer a decade earlier.
Too see the full collection please visit: David Neel Photography