In the world of photography, some projects are born from a deep-seated passion and a commitment to preserving culture and tradition. Clark Dunbar, a seasoned photographer with a rich history, embarked on an extraordinary journey that led him to capture inspiring portraits of Native American tribes through his lens. With decades of experience under his belt, Clark recently shared his insights into this remarkable project.
Clark Dunbar’s fascination with Native American cultures started half a century ago when he was just 5 or 6 years old. However, it was only recently that he resurrected his long-lost project outline. As he revisited his old notes, he recognized a need to diversify his portfolio, steering away from the “commercial/corporate” style he had been known for. The project, which started as a simple outline, began to grow quickly as he delved deeper into the world of Native American communities.
The heart of Clark’s project lies in the faces and stories of the people he photographs. The subjects, their families, and the powwow communities have welcomed his work with open arms. The emotional resonance of his portraits has left a lasting impact on those who have seen them, whether at portrait sessions, through online postings, or in his gallery.
Dunbar’s dedication to his subjects extends to the challenging on-location conditions in which he works. Using standard classic studio lighting techniques for portrait photography, he sets up shop in a small pop-up canopy tent. Here, amidst the heat, dust, wind, and noise, he manages to create captivating and timeless portraits that honour the heritage and culture of the Native American communities.
What began as a rekindled project is now a long-term vision. Clark Dunbar has no intention of slowing down. He plans to continue capturing the portraits of Native American tribes for several years to come. His goals include expanding the range of events he attends and representing an even wider range of people. Along the way, he envisions the exhibition and publication of the finished photographs.
To keep this project mobile and straightforward, Clark relies on a Canon R5 camera, a Sigma 24-70mm Art Series lens, a single strobe with a small softbox, a reflector, and a neutral backdrop. His post-processing workflow primarily involves Adobe Photoshop Raw, with final background replacements and minor retouching executed in standard Photoshop mode.
For Clark Dunbar, this project is more than just a photographic endeavour; it’s a passion project. He seeks to celebrate the culture and personalities of the individuals who are dedicated to preserving their traditions and heritage. His photographs reflect the spirit and resilience of Native American communities, honouring their legacy.
To see more of his delightful photographs in various genres, visit his website and social channels.