It was the
strength of memory and historythe traditional culturethat
had sustained the Ojibway in their deep, ongoing struggle for survival,
a struggle that was etched in the faces of young and old during
the trying period of the 1950s.
Liebling, The Minnesota Photographs, 1997
Every photograph, besides being
a document of what the camera sees, also testifies to the relationship
between the photographer and the subject of the photo. Lieblings
photograph of an Ojibway woman on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota
reveals a trusting relationship. This woman appears lost in thought and
seems to have forgotten all about the man with the camera who shares her
space. She must have been comfortable enough to be unconcerned that Jerome
Liebling was contemplating her at close range through the lens of a camera.
The photograph is also a study in textures. All the tones that make up
the womans face, her bandanna, the background, her hair and shirt
are the same rich, dark grays. The variations are in the texturethe
pattern on the bandanna, the wispy hair, fine lines in the skin and the
soft background. The only thing that stands out are the hearts that make
up her earring, perhaps a symbol of the strong heart Liebling found when
he photographed this woman.