With “A Danish Photographer of Idaho Indians|” Joanna Cohan Scherer rescues from oblivion a remarkable photographer–Benedicte Wrensted–who greatly contributed to the visual legacy of the Northern Shoshone| Lemhi| and Bannock (“Sho-Ban”) American Indian tribes. This beautifully designed volume reproduces a substantial number of Wrensted’s photographs| along with a detailed description of each image| including the names of the subjects| their biographical data| and an ethnographic analysis of their Native attire.
Wrensted| a Danish immigrant| opened her photographic studio in Pocatello| Idaho| in 1895 and worked as a commercial photographer there until 1912. Not only did white residents of Pocatello frequent her business| but so did many Sho-Bans from the neighboring Fort Hall Indian Reservation| who came singly and with their families to have portraits made. Sometimes her Indian clients wore traditional Native clothing and sometimes western-style suits or dresses| but Wrensted allowed the choice to be their own.
“A Danish Photographer of Idaho Indians” redresses decades of neglect by restoring both Wrensted and her Indian subjects to a place in history–Wrensted as a distinguished photographer and her clients as named persons. Today| prints of many of Wrensted’s photographs survive| proudly on display in The Sho-Ban Museum and in family homes.