the subject and the right ways growing out of what the newspaper needed.

Just as my ideas about photography and my subject evolved during the project, so did my conception of the final form of presentation the project would take. When I started, I didn’t know explicitly what that final form would be, although I knew the project would contain far too many photographs for a conventional newspaper picture story. I thought perhaps it might be some kind of book or, more likely, an exhibit in conjunction with the Seattle Indian Alcoholism Program. There would be text, but it would be information about alcoholism and possibly oral histories of the individuals I photographed.

Any subject is intricately entwined with the form used to tell about it. The form sets the boundaries for the kinds of questions that can be posed and answered. The medium limits or expands the number of possible approaches and styles of presentation. Written text and photographic images are two ways of getting at something, and in the end I used both — certainly more text than I had ever imagined I would in a photographic book — to get at the things I wanted to talk about.

Doing this project was a process of studying religious groups; of studying photographic conventions and the way they enable (or, conversely, stand in the way of) gaining knowledge and communicating it; and of studying my own personal development as a photographer and investigator of the social world. My subject, in the end, was a braid of all of these processes. Ideas about religion, ideas about picture making, and the narrative of my own experience became impossible to separate. A little background will explain how I learned the professional skills and work habits I brought to the project. Some other things I brought to it were more personal and had to do with my ideas about religion.