Reuben James Fast Hors, "Fast Horse", Hunkpapha (Hunkpapa), in the historic wet plate collodion process of silver on glass. Our main goal was to pay our respect to the great Heyokha. The human manifestation of the Wakinyan Oyate (The Thunder Beings), for my series Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective.
"For people who are as poor as us, who have lost everything, who had to endure so much death and sadness, laughter is a precious gift. When we were dying like flies from white man's disease, when we were driven into reservations, when the government rations did not arrive and we were starving, watching the pranks and capers of the Heyoka were a blessing" - John Fire Lame Deer
The heyoka (haokah, heyokha) is a kind of sacred clown in the culture of the Lakota people of the Great Plains of North America. The heyoka is a contrarian, jester, and satirist, who speaks, moves and reacts in an opposite fashion to the people around them.
“Without You”, with Natalie Tokach, black glass ambrotypes in the historic wet plate collodion process of silver on glass. Natalie last visited my studio nearly four years ago when she was 14. I promised her a plate to celebrate her recent graduation. Her Mother Jamie Petersen has been a friend of my studio from the beginning of my creative journey.
Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, f4.5, 9 seconds of exposure, all natural light through North facing studio windows at Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio, Bismarck, North Dakota.
"Ina" which translates as "Mother" and "No Spiritual Surrender" with Floris White Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota - Cochiti Pueblo, in the historic wet plate collodion process of silver on glass. Floris is a advocate for her people and was instrumental in the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. This plate will be part of my exhibition at the Rourke Art Museum this August.
If you are interested in her story, please watch "Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock", my wet plate work is also featured in the documentary.
8x10" black glass ambrotype, Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, f4.5, 11 seconds of exposure, natural light coming through Northern facing studio window at Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio. The closeup
WORDS OF FLORIS WHITE BULL, May 20th, 2018:
"I am beside myself. This life, this journey has been a long road with it's own twists and turns. It has never been anything I would have expected. Life has taken some of the most important people in my life. I pray for the strength to endure this heartache. It makes those I love that much more valuable. I understand the fragility of life. They say when you lose your parents that you see your own mortality, it's true. I see how valuable this one life we have is. With the passing of my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, I've also experienced the gift of motherhood. I cannot imagine my life without my children and nieces and nephews (blood and adopted). They've given my life purpose. My relatives and people, our way of life, has given me a solid foundation of love and an honorable path to aspire to. I still live to make my family proud in the Star Camps. I live my life so that I may hold my head high in the next life among our ancestors; that I will be able to say I did my best. You know how much you love your family. How when one gets sick or hurt, you wish you could do something to make it better, to help. Your child gets sick and you wish you could take it away. It's with this same love for the future generations that we fight. It's with this same love that measured against the threat of jail, is greater and worth the fight. We stand together out of love for our people, land, waters, the very lives that cannot voice their opposition- the trees, birds, the swimmers, the four legged, all creation that has every right to exist and be sustained by this world. Our love crosses the span of seven generations as we make the best decisions that we can with them in mind. What kind of life will they have? What will their quality of life be? We can bear the brunt of change for them. We have it within our power, unified, to right this path before it's out of our control. As a collective, humanity is taking so much that we are taking from the future. Our conviences are robbing those that come after us of even a simple life. We have it within our power to act. Not for glory. Not for ego. Not for credit. But out of love. That our actions come from a place of love. When we lose sight of our reasons, when our vision gets blurred by our human flaws of ego and jealousy, I pray we remind ourselves of our reasons to work through it with integrity, keeping in mind the youth are watching. Keep up the good fight my friends. Thank you again Shane Balkowitsch for your beautiful gift. For following your own heart. Where it has led along with your spirit has been a beautiful gift for the people. It has a power, a good power. Thank you so much for your friendship. Life is made beautiful by the souls that inspire, empower, uplift, and encourage."
#FREEREDFAWN #stillnoDAPL #waterislife
"Three Faces of Chief Crazy Horse", a triptych, Floyd Gene Clown, Sr. "Black Tail Calls You", Donald Peter Red Thunder "Crazy Horse" and Douglas Andrew War Eagle "Walks with Sacred Buffalo, of the Minnikojou Tribe. The Grandsons of "one of the greatest Native Americans Warriors of the 19th Century." These plates will be included with my series "Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective" and archived by the Historical Society of North Dakota at the Heritage Center.
There is no known photograph of the great Chief. A 1934 sketch of Crazy Horse was made by a Mormon missionary after interviewing Crazy Horse's sister, who claimed the depiction was accurate.
The new book "Crazy Horse The Lakota Warrior's Life and Legacy" is now available.
8x10" black glass ambrotypes in the historic wet plate process of pure silver on black glass. Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, f4.5, 10 seconds of exposure, natural light through Northern facing studio windows.
"Composing Darkness" and "Simply Richard", with the fabulous and talented musical artist, my friend Richard Loewen. 8x10" black glass ambrotypes in the historic wet plate collodion process of pure silver on glass. Richard Loewen was one of the first people to ever trust my camera and chemicals. That will never be forgotten.
Carl Zeiss Tessar 300mm lens, f4.5, 11 seconds of exposure, natural light coming through Northern facing studio windows. Styling and composition assistance by Maggie Belle Herr.
Words to accompany my wet plate of Richard Loewen
By Shane Balkowitsch
May 7th, 2018
I find myself alone, searching for the notes that will release me,
Nothing seems in order, why does this struggle continue,
Just me and my box of strings, I have no other choice,
This need to create is like no other, a longing that I cannot explain,
The drink gives me momentary relief, but even that soon fades into oblivion,
My flower, my beautiful flower has wilted under this pressure,
As everything in life, time will consume all, there is no escaping it,
I have no choice but to continue to compose the darkness around me.
For only when my music finds its way to me, will I be free.
Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio was founded on October 4th, 2012 by Shane Balkowitsch.