Natural-born shooter keeps her eye on the light - Indian Country Today

  
Via:  Kavika  •  9 months ago  •  17 comments

By:   Mary Annette Pember (Indian Country Today)

Natural-born shooter keeps her eye on the light - Indian Country Today
Ojibwe photographer draws attention for bold works

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Ojibwe photographer draws attention for bold works Author: Mary Annette Pember

"Resist," by photographer Nedahness Rose Greene, is on display in October 2021 at the Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji, Minnesota. Greene, a citizen of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, starting taking photos on a lark. Now her photography skills are in high demand and her work is being exhibited. (Photo courtesy of Nedahness Rose Greene)

Ojibwe photographer draws attention for bold works

Mary Annette Pember
Indian Country Today

BEMIDJI, Minnesota — For some people, a talent or ability seems to be baked into their DNA; we call them natural-born. Nedahness Rose Greene, citizen of the Leech Band of Ojibwe, is such a one, a natural-born photographer or shooter.

Greene wasn't aware of her talent, however, until about five years ago.

A single mother, she was living in North Dakota, watching her now-seven-year-old twins as well as her sister's children. Beyond caring for the children, she had little to divert her interests. One day, she picked up her sister's iPad and began taking photos of the children and the world around her. Casually, she posted some of the images online.

Nedahness Rose Greene, a citizen of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe shown here in October 2021, is a photographer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Greene starting taking photos on a lark. Now her photography skills are in high demand and her work is being exhibited. (Photo by Mary Annette Pember/Indian Country Today)

"Everybody asked, "Hey, who's your photographer?'" Greene said.

Greene got excited. She began shooting more portraits, and was overwhelmed by the encouragement she received online. Her family bought her an inexpensive digital camera, and her interest grew.

Now, five years later, Greene not only shoots portraits but has covered water protector actions along Enbridge Line 3 in Minnesota for the Indigenous Environmental Network, George Floyd protests, Black Lives Matter marches and events calling attention to Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.

Her work has appeared in the Washington Post and other publications. She shoots fashion for Indigenous designers such as Sarah Agaton Howes of Heart Berry and Delina White of IamAnishinaabe.

In January, her photos were featured in an exhibit, "Mashkawiziigag," ("They are Strong,"), at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, including portraits, her MMIW work, water protectors and Black Lives Matter rallies.

The photos are currently on display at the Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji, and she can barely keep up with customer requests for her services.

"I'm not somebody who likes to talk in front of people but I have a lot of personal thoughts and ideas about issues," she said. "I'd rather use my photography to convey my message."

Eager to learn

Social justice issues such as missing and murdered Indigenous women hold special, emotional meaning for the 41-year-old Greene.

She created a series of portraits and images for her "healing circle shoot," in which she put out a call on social media asking women to participate in the project. Greene set up shoots at various locations throughout Minnesota at places where women tend to go missing, such as railroad tracks, rivers and parks. At least 50 women showed up.

"I would say 90 percent of the women were either victims of assault or activists," she said.

Greene's images are bold and graphic. Free of excess visual information, her work strikes at the heart with unwavering accuracy.

Asked if she could have imagined such success back in her iPad days, Greene says, "No, at first, I didn't really take it too seriously."

"Endurance," by photographer Nedahness Rose Greene, is on display in October 2021 at the Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji, Minnesota. Greene, a citizen of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, starting taking photos on a lark. Now her photography skills are in high demand and her work is being exhibited. (Photo courtesy of Nedahness Rose Greene)

Shortly after she received the digital camera from her family, she joined a local photography club in northeast Minneapolis. Comprised mostly of older Black men, club members were impressed by her eagerness to learn.

"I think they were surprised I wanted to come hang out with a bunch of old guys at a photo studio," Greene said.

Soon the men took her under wing, encouraging her to join them on photo shoots and advising her on the technical aspects of photography. Before long, club members pitched in and bought her some equipment, and one of the photographers gifted her his old camera.

"It was old, but it was new to me, a real professional's camera; I started taking photography more seriously," she said.

Greene demurs when asked technical questions about her work. She insists she "plays around until it's right."

Photographer Nedahness Rose Greene, a citizen of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, starting taking photos on a lark. Now her photography skills are in high demand and her work is being exhibited. This photo shows Delina White designs in the 2019 SWAIA Fashion Show at the Santa Fe Indian Market. The photo is now on display (2021) at the Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji, Minnesota. (Photo courtesy of Nedahness Rose Greene)

Her father's teachings

In early 2020, just as Greene's career was set to take off, she had several projects lined up with prominent non-profit organizations. Then the pandemic hit, putting nearly everything on hold.

Greene struggles to make a living with her camera these days shooting portraits and taking on assignments as long as they aren't too far from Leech Lake. One of her son is special needs, so traveling for work is especially challenging. Finding the right person to care for them is difficult.

"I'd like to travel more but my kids come first," she said.

One day, Greene hopes to secure funding to allow her to take her children along on photo shoots.

"I want to go to as many other reservations as possible. If we had a travel van, the kids and I could camp," she said. "I should write a grant but I'm too busy trying to pay the bills right now."

Until then, Greene keeps her camera close and her eyes on the light, always waiting for the perfect moment.

For inspiration she often thinks of the teachings her father shared.

"He always taught me to respect the water spirit and protect our people and our natural resources," she said. "I think that's what my work shows."

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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     9 months ago
Shortly after she received the digital camera from her family, she joined a local photography club in northeast Minneapolis. Comprised mostly of older Black men, club members were impressed by her eagerness to learn.

"I think they were surprised I wanted to come hang out with a bunch of old guys at a photo studio," Greene said.

Soon the men took her under wing, encouraging her to join them on photo shoots and advising her on the technical aspects of photography. Before long, club members pitched in and bought her some equipment, and one of the photographers gifted her his old camera.

LOL, now that made me laugh, very cool indeed.

Yes, I am Anishinaabe as well and grew up in the area that she is currently located in, Leech Lake and Bemidji.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @1    9 months ago

cool shots.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  devangelical @1.1    9 months ago

She does seem to have an ''eye'' for photography.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @1.1.1    9 months ago

She really does. She has a "feel" for her subjects

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Kavika @1    9 months ago

Outstanding work by that young woman! Thanks for posting this Kavika.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
2  Paula Bartholomew    9 months ago

Beautiful photos.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Paula Bartholomew @2    9 months ago

Happy that you enjoyed them, Paula.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
3  Perrie Halpern R.A.    9 months ago

I can't believe she just learned. She has such amazing talent. Do you know where to purchase her photographs? I just love them.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    9 months ago
Do you know where to purchase her photographs? I just love them.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
4  Raven Wing    9 months ago

Great seed, Kavika. Beautiful photos. It is really interesting that she is devoting so much of her life to photographing the Ojibwe way of life. 

Thank you so much for sharing this great story with us.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Raven Wing @4    9 months ago

She sure has a talent for photography.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
4.1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @4.1    9 months ago

I like the way she seems to have a 'feel' for the subject, and can interject a bit of their personality into the photo. And that is not easy to do.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5  Trout Giggles    9 months ago

Beautiful photos. I'm especially touched by the little girl wrapped in the blanket. She captures the innocence and the hope of that child

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @5    9 months ago

That is one of my favorites as well, Trout.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
6  Gsquared    9 months ago

Those are wonderful photos, Kavika.  She is very talented.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
7  Buzz of the Orient    9 months ago

Kavika, when I first saw the title I thought it meant rifle marksmanship, and then when I saw her photos I was completely knocked over.  Although I could see the three photos at the top of the article, I couldn't open up the ones in the rest of the article so I did a web search to see more.  We should have done one of our Famous Photographer series about her.  I wish someone would help her apply for the funding to get the finances necessary for her to continue her photography and carry out her wishes to be able to travel and photograph what her fantastic photo-eye can see. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @7    9 months ago

We can do a join Photographer series on her, nothing stopping us. 

Let me know what you think about that.

 
 

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