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Seen and Unseen
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1 hour 15 minutes
Three months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the incarceration of all Japanese and Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the United States. Families, teachers, farm workers—all were ordered to leave behind their homes, their businesses, and everything they
owned. They were forced to live in incarceration camps, under hostile conditions, their futures uncertain. How did they endure it? How do we honestly remember this critical time in our history?
Three photographers set out to document life at Manzanar, one of the ten bleak incarceration camps built and operated by the War Relocation Authority specifically for imprisoning Japanese Americans.
Dorothea Lange was a photographer from San Francisco best known for her haunting Depression-era images. Dorothea was hired by the US government to record the conditions of the camps. Deeply critical of the policy, she wanted her photos to shed light on the harsh reality of incarceration.
Toyo Miyatake was a Japanese-born, Los Angeles–based photographer who lent his artistic eye to photographing dancers, athletes, and events in the Japanese community. Imprisoned at Manzanar, he devised a way to smuggle in photographic equipment, determined to document what was really going on
inside the barbed-wire confines of the camp.
Ansel Adams was an acclaimed landscape photographer and environmentalist. Hired by the director of Manzanar, Ansel hoped his carefully curated pictures would demonstrate to the rest of the United States the resilience of those in the camps.
Three photographers. Three perspectives. And through the lenses of their cameras, three different views of one bitter chapter of American history.
In this remarkable work of nonfiction, Elizabeth Partridge weaves together firsthand accounts to reveal the history, heartbreak, and injustice of the Japanese incarceration.
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Seen and Unseen...
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