Scope and Contents note
The Helga Teiwes photograph collection contains over 7,000 negatives, slides and prints made by Teiwes between 1965 and 2002 across the American Southwest, Mexico and Peru. The majority of the photographs document daily life and activities, artists at work, and special events among members of the Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham, Apache, Diné (Navajo) and Hopi tribes in Arizona and New Mexico. A smaller amount of photographs documents trips Teiwes made to Mexico to photograph the Tarahumara (Rarámuri) community in Chihuahua and a 1975 summer trip to Peru. The collection is arranged into seven series with additional subseries.
Series 1, Akimel O’odham (Pima)
, 1965-1993, 2001, contains photographs mostly taken among the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. These include intimate portraits, landscape views and views of farming and agriculture. Of particular note are photographs of Patricia “Pat” Stone and her family and basket weaver Julia Francisco. The majority of the photographs in
Series 2, Apache
, 1973-1994, are from two San Carlos Apache coming of age ceremonies, or “Changing Woman” ceremonies, from 1992 and 1994. The 1992 ceremony for Leia Tenille Johnson was held in Whiteriver, Arizona and the 1994 ceremony for Vanessa Jordan of Bylas, Arizona. A selection of 50 photographic prints from these ceremonies were later exhibited in "Western Apache Sunrise Ceremony" at the University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology. The largest series,
Series 3, Diné (Navajo)
, 1969-2002, is divided into seven subseries by topics. This includes artists and artisans, families and individuals across the Navajo Nation, industry and agriculture, trading posts and markets, places, schools, and other topics. Of particular note are the photographs of the Greyeyes family from Tsegi Canyon, Arizona. In addition to photographing matriarch Bessie Salt Greyeyes at home with family, weaving, cooking, shopping around town and herding sheep and goats, Teiwes accompanied Pete Greyeyes to work at the Peabody Coal Mining Company. Other places and events of note include photographs of Monument Valley, Window Rock, seat of the Navajo Nation, the Hubbell and Shonto trading posts and the 1990 graduation from Navajo Community College (Now Diné College).
Series 4, Hopi
, 1968-2002, highlights the work and artistry of Hopi basket weavers. Many of the photographs in this series were included in Teiwes's 1996 book
Hopi Basket Weaving: Artistry in Natural Fibers
. Coiled basket weavers from the Second Mesa include Madeline Lamson, Joyce Ann Saufkie, Evelyn Selestewa and Bertha Wadsworth, among others. Wicker basket weavers from the Third Mesa include Eva Hoyungowa, Abigail Kaursgowva, Vera Pooyouma and Vernita Silas, among others. Teiwes also photographed additional artists and events on the Hopi reservation including Maechel Saufkie’s 1995 wedding.
Series 5, Peru
, 1975 includes photographs from Teiwes’s 1975 summer trip to Peru. Teiwes visited and photographed several pre-Colombian archaeological sites including Sacsahuaman and Machu Piccu in addition to photographing in larger cities such as Cuzco, Lima and Quito (Ecuador). A large number of photographs in this series are from the Inti Raymi parade and festival held in Cuzco during their winter solstice.
Series 6, Tarahumara (Rarámuri)
, 1971, 1977-1979 contains photographs from three trips to Chihuahua, Mexico to photograph the Tarahumara (Rarámuri) people for an Arizona State Museum exhibition held in 1979. Also included are photographs from the exhibition opening in Arizona.
Series 7, Tohono O’odham
, 1969-1995, 2002 contains photographs of the saguaro cactus harvest in addition to other special events among the Tohono O’odham people. Teiwes documented Juanita Ahill, and later her niece Stella Tucker, throughout the process of harvesting and processing the saguaro cactus plant to make jam and ceremonial wine. Additional events photographed in this series include the San Xavier Elders parade and Tumacacori festival.
The photographs in this collection range all media types: 6x6cm color/black and white negatives; 35mm color/black and white negatives; 35mm and 6x6cm color slides; 6x6cm transparencies; contact sheets; and 3x5, 4x6, 8x10 and larger color/black and white photographic prints, some matted for sale or exhibition purposes. Teiwes did include handwritten notations on the backs of some photographs and slide mounts. There is also a small amount of paper documentation.