Miss Indian Princess, Oklahoma

Sometimes a portrait photographer has the rare privilege of stepping outside of the ordinary, to record an image of distinct beauty. So it was for me this past summer when I was in Shawnee, Oklahoma. There, I had the opportunity of meeting Devon Frazier, who had recently been crowned Miss Indian Oklahoma. This is a signature honor accorded by the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women. To compete, Devon needed to wear authentic tribal dress, be interviewed, introduce herself at the pageant in her native tribal language, and to offer a traditional talent. Devon chose to sing and dance an ancient tribal song taught to her by her grandmother. It is Devon singing this song that you see in the image at the top of this post. Now, I should explain that there are not three Devons, as the image shows! Rather, this image is a composite of three images I took as Devon sang and danced. I was totally transfixed by her graceful, swaying movements and by the blissful, enraptured expression on her face. By combining three images of her, I hoped in some small measure to how transcendent was the experience of her song. Thank you, Devon, for your devotion to your tribe, the Absentee Shawnee, and for the beauty of your song!

Tom Launius
Oak Tree Photography