Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field is a series of three photo essays created by Native photojournalists Donovan Quintero, Tailyr Irvine, and Russel Albert Daniels in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. These photographers share the same desires: to break down stereotypes of Native peoples and to portray the diversity and complexity of their contemporary lives.

Each photographer explores an issue that is of deep personal interest to them and touches the lives of Native people in a specific community. Their essays feature poignant and compelling photography. Together, they provide thought-provoking insights into contemporary Native life and nuanced perspectives on an American experience that is largely invisible to mainstream society.

The COVID-19 Outbreak in the Navajo Nation

Donovan Quintero

Donovan Quintero’s photo essay reveals how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Navajo Nation since its outbreak. His photographs capture how individuals, families, health care workers, and officials have responded to the pandemic.

Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America

Tailyr Irvine

Tailyr Irvine’s photo essay delves into the legacy of U.S. government regulations impacting Native Americans’ most personal decisions, including with whom they have children. These decisions affect young adults and their families.

The Genízaro Pueblo of Abiquiú

Russel Albert Daniels

Russel Albert Daniels’ photo essay explores the historical complexities shaping a 266-year-old community’s sense of self. This Indigenous/Hispanic community’s genesis lies in violence, slavery—and survival.