Just Natural

Björk. Photo credit: Laura Levine, Woodstock, 1991

 
 

“I’m often asked if I have a favorite photo and I can say without hesitation that it’s this one right here. All of the elements combined to make it one of my favorite moments as a photographer, and it happened purely by chance. I met Bjork the night before when she invited herself along and joined some friends and me for a late night pool game up in Woodstock. At the time she was upstate recording with the Sugarcubes. I was already a fan, and had always wanted to photograph her, and when I asked her if I could she said sure. Just like that. We’d been talking all night, she trusted me, and I guess that was all she needed to go on.

The next day I picked her up and brought her to my friend Ben’s house, who helped out as my assistant for the shoot. I knew he had a lovely forest glade behind his house and I thought the setting fit in nicely with her freespiritedness. As happens often in shoots I’ve done (don’t ask me why), she gradually began to to shed her clothes. I picked out a couple of oversized leaves (a la Eve in the Garden of Eden) and she stepped onto a large boulder. At that moment it started to drizzle, she stood on tippy-toe and opened her mouth to catch a raindrop on her tongue. Click.

Having spent a long time talking with her the night before I felt this image really captured her essence – a woodland sprite, a free spirit, playful, earthy, and open . (Some other reasons why this is a favorite? No makeup artists, no stylists, no trendy fashions, no managers, no publicists, no record label politics, no artificial lighting, no gimmicks, no self-conciousness. Just natural light, some foliage, and Bjork.).”

Laura Levine

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The Peaceful People

Hopi girl, 1922, photo by Edward S. Curtis

 
 

The name Hopi is a shortened form of their autonym, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu (“The Peaceful People” or “Peaceful Little Ones”).The Hopi Dictionary gives the primary meaning of the word “Hopi” as: “behaving one, one who is mannered, civilized, peaceable, polite, who adheres to the Hopi way.” In the past, Hopi sometimes used the term “Hopi” and its cognates to refer to the Pueblo peoples in general, in contrast to other, more warlike tribes.

 
 

Four young Hopi Indian women grinding grain, c. 1906, photo by Edward S. Curtis

 
 

Children with chopper bicycle, Hopi Reservation (Arizona), 1970

 
 

Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture’s religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics. To be Hopi is to strive toward this concept, which involves a state of total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of Maasaw, the Creator or Caretaker of Earth. The Hopi observe their traditional ceremonies for the benefit of the entire world.

 
 

Hopi girl at Walpi, c. 1900, with “squash blossom” hairdo indicative of her eligibility for courtship

 
 

Hopi woman dressing hair of unmarried girl, c. 1900, photo by Henry Peabody

 
 

Traditionally, Hopi are organized into matrilineal clans. When a man marries, the children from the relationship are members of his wife’s clan. These clan organizations extend across all villages. Children are named by the women of the father’s clan. On the twentieth day of a baby’s life, the women of the paternal clan gather, each woman bringing a name and a gift for the child. In some cases where many relatives would attend, a child could be given over forty names, for example. The child’s parents generally decide the name to be used from these names. Current practice is to either use a non-Hopi or English name or the parent’s chosen Hopi name.

The Hopi are one of many Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States. When first encountered by the Spanish in the 16th century, these cultures were referred to as Pueblo people because they lived in villages (pueblos in the Spanish language). The Hopi are descended from the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (Hopi: Hisatsinom or Navajo: Anasazi) who constructed large apartment-house complexes in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado.