Umatilla model Mariah Watchman

In the world of photography, there are a few remaining photographers who take photos simply to capture a moment in time. Zoe Friday, Arapaho from the Wind River Reservation, sees beauty in the world, and uses her camera to capture it, especially the Native American culture. Zoe often takes photographs of the Native American culture, but refuses to photograph sacred ceremonies and celebrations. Currently Zoe is expanding her portfolio by dabbling in fashion and model photography.

Native Max: What’s your tribe?

Zoe Friday: Hinono-eininoo [I am Arapaho in English] from the Wind River reservation.

NM: When did you realize you liked photography? Why do you enjoy it?

ZF: I’ve been interested in photography since I can remember. My grandmother would buy me cameras and make me do chores for film. I would take pictures of everything and be a nuisance at times. Polaroid’s were my favorite, because they would give me instant results. My family members were my main victims; I would always take the Polaroid’s out for show and tell.

NM: What are some of your favorite interests or things to photograph?

ZF: Photographing people doing things they are passionate about and love. I love to capture scenery that takes my breath away, those moments are hard to come by and are so amazing. I like to look at old photographs of my ancestors and try to imagine what it was like. It promotes a positive healing process of cultural trauma and other adversities we face as Indian people.

NM: Your known to photograph Native culture, why is that?

ZF: I’ve grown up on the reservation; culture is what I am most proud of. American Indians have always been my main focus. Their stories are the ones I want to tell. My family has always been involved in our community, especially with our youth. I enjoy volunteering my time working, encouraging and inspiring younger generations to dream big. The message I try to implement is that nothing is impossible, be proud of who you are. Being a photographer has opened up so many doors to help create future leaders and inspire others.

NM: Has your photography made it into any art galleries?

ZF: My photographs have been used in my community. I haven’t pursued this area yet but I do see it happening in the near future.