The field for professional women photographers expanded substantially within the last century. Now, Native women are proving they are just as prolific and skillful as today’s top photographers across the world. We chat photographer Skye Manikateri (Hidatsa, Mandan, Assiniboine, and Crow) about how she got her start in photography and how she puts her own twist on traditional photography.

SKYE MANIKATERI
Hidatsa, Mandan, Assiniboine, and Crow
Skye Manikateri once was an artist, jewelry designer, model and Jingle dancer, and now a self-taught photographer.

When did you first get into photography?
I first started photography when I had my jewelry business going. I had to take photos of my advertising and the jewelry. I really gained a strong interest in taking pictures ever since. I also grew interested in modeling; I’m very observant and a fast visual learner, so I learned a lot from watching photographers when I modeled.

Native women photographers are constantly overlooked, why do you think that is? How are you redefining that?
Most photographers seem to be men; it’s a male-dominated field. I think it’s either you have an eye for photography or you just do it to snap a picture and get paid. Women seem to have a nice eye for creativity, especially Native women. The way I change the idea of photography is making it more artistic and I put more thought into what images I want to capture.

How do you capture Native beauty in your photography?
Native beauty isn’t just the person you’re shooting; you want to capture them at their best but also get an image of who they really are and being able to bring their beauty out even more in an image captured. I don’t judge beauty as just the outside, you have to see within the person as well and the picture can do that. Images have a strong voice. I like to make my clients as comfortable as possible to get their true beauty through my work. When you can be yourself in a photo, you’re the most beautiful.