Japanese American Resettlement through the Lens: Hikaru Iwasaki and the WRA's Photographic Section, 1943-1945

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Community Event

Nov 200921
2:00p.m.

Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, California, 90012
United States

In Japanese American Resettlement through the Lens, Lane Ryo Hirabayashi gathers a unique collection of photographs by War Relocation Authority photographer Hikaru Iwasaki, the only full-time WRA photographer from the period still living. This book explores the WRA's use of photography in its mission to encourage "loyal" Japanese Americans to return to society before the end of the war, and also to convince Euro-Americans that this was safe and advantageous. Hirabayashi assesses the relative success of this project, and discusses how, although they were created as part of the government's official record, the WRA photos can be appropriated and utilized for other purposes, today.

While previous articles and books have discussed specific photographers, such as Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Russell Lee, and Toyo Miyatake, no author has considered the institutional dimensions of the WRA's photo operations as a whole, including the set up and operation of the WRA Photography Section [WRAPS] in downtown Denver, Colorado. Drawing from archival sources and interviews, Hirabayashi delineates the mission, method, and make up of WRAPS. The book is thus an original contribution to the history of mass incarceration, and an illustration of the federal government's refinement in its use of institutional photography as a tool for shaping public opinion in favor of its policies.

 

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JANM . Last modified Jul 09 2010 12:12 p.m.


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