Occasionally you stumble on things that have the elements to make a good image. Sometimes you have to pay some money to be in a place to do the stumbling, but it's a stumble anyway. Such is the case of this shoot. We were at a festival called Schemitzun in eastern Connecticut a few years ago, wandering around taking in the activities and looking for shots. Native Americans gather to celebrate their rich and colorful heritage in full regalia.
We wandered into a large tent where different tribes would demonstrate their traditional dances. We took a couple of shots but, due to the cluttered background, there wasn't anything special. We started walking back out through the entrance tunnel and came across the fellow pictured here. After getting a little background (bad pun) information (he's from the Nez Pierce tribe) I asked if I could take his picture. He said "sure" and grabbed his young son. I'd guess he figured this wouldn't be a shot I'd be interested in. I bent down to "kid level" and snapped the shutter. Light was coming in through the entrance tunnel, the background was the canvas of the tent and the expression on the child's face was priceless.
We wandered around the grounds for another couple of hours (in 90+ degree heat) and were just about to leave when we came across the buffalo skull. It was part of one of the vendor's display. It looked interesting, so I shot it. Had no idea where I'd use it, but knew it could be a component of some shot.
Back at the gallery I knew I wanted to get rid of the blank canvas of the tent and put something symbolic in. The end result was to keep the canvas and layer in the skull. The skull was masked and the opacity lowered. The result was then masked again to reveal the man and his son.
If anyone recognizes this fellow, let me know. I'd like to offer him a copy of the image.