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John and Coleen made Buena Vista their full time home several years ago. For a short period of time, they traveled extensively photographing. It didn’t take long to figure out that Chaffee County was just as pretty (or prettier) as anywhere else in the country and decided to photograph around BV more! As ambiguity would have it, they now find themselves following another path in their travels and photography that will take them back on the road again.
John and Coleen have begun another journey they call the Descendants Project. The Descendants Project will take them to many new places in search of the descendants of Edward Curtis’ epic project, The North American Indian. They will be interviewing and photographing those descendants that wish to participate, providing a vehicle for Natives to say in their voice, what it means to them to be Native American in the 21st century. For more details, visit their website page Descendants.
This Project wasn’t just a whim for them. John comes by his talent genetically; photography has been in John’s family dating back to the late 1800’s. You see his great grandfather is Edward S. Curtis. Curtis is famous today for his work of the North American Indian, which produced a 20-volume encyclopedia and accompanied portfolios with an additional 723 images. He took over 40,000 images of 80 tribes west of the Mississippi, and did 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of their language, music and tribal lore.
Though John has done client-based portrait and wedding work, it wasn’t fulfilling. John is now very passionately following this new path in search of the descendants of his great grandfather’s work and photographing them much the same way Curtis did, with a 6.5x8.5” glass dry plate camera and processing the images himself.
Coleen is a Master Photographer and Certified Professional Photographer through the Professional Photographers of America and has won national awards for both her portrait and landscape work. She was a portrait/wedding photographer for over 26 years, and then started concentrating on scenic/fine art images after she and John began dating in 2016. She too, is excited to apply her talents to their Descendants Project and bring attention to the amazing stories of Native Americans.
John and Coleen still manage to find themselves outside enjoying their beautiful hometown when they’re not on the road. Whether you want to decorate your home that’s far away, your second home here, or your “dream come true” full time house here in Buena Vista, the Graybills take great pride in providing well crafted, beautiful images of our mountains.
They don’t sell off the walls of their display at Simple Eatery, www.spoon-it-up.com, in downtown BV, because they want you to get clean, untouched, perfectly sized prints in your chosen surface that uniquely fits your home. You can also see their work at the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center www.buenavistacolorado.org and throughout the BV Visitors Guide.
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter (pop-up on the site), which covers our landscape travels and news. If you subscribe to our Blog, then you will receive updates on the Descendants Project. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see updates on both!
If you happen to get to the Aspen, Colorado area, be sure to go to Valley Fine Art www.valleyfineart.com to see original Edward Curtis prints. For more information on Curtis’ history, go to Edward S. Curtis
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