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Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment Hardcover – November 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
[The] images show Americans of Japanese extraction being relocated to 'assembly centers', labeled and processed like cattle and closeted away in dismal shacks for the duration of the war... No wonder her pictures were never used and disappeared for half a century. "
Through her discerning and sensitive eye, Lange's observations of the situation were too real and too critical for the government, and were consequently confiscated. "
[T]he bulk of the book is given over to Lange's photographs. Several of these are as powerful as her most stirring work, and the final image of a grandfather in the desolate Manzanar Center looking down in anguish at the grandson between his knees is worth the price of the book alone. " --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Whole families gather in these telling photographs, leaving treasured belongings behind, grandparents to infants, all swept up in an infamous display of mistrust in a country suddenly driven to panic by a surprise attack, demanding a quick response from their government. Lange has a particular talent for capturing the very human face of the internment camps, children with ID tags attached to their coats, chain link fences topped with barbed wire circling the arid landscape, family laundry hanging from a window, the barren rows of housing units assailed by constant dust storms, women working on camouflage nets for the War Department.
Famous for her Depression era photos of migrant farm workers, this series of photographs, while ordered by the US Government, were censored for the duration of the war. The most striking feature of the collection is the very American look of these people, standing proud while saluting the flag, teenagers trying to act cool in spite of their surroundings, family gatherings that are familiar Americana.Read more ›
I purchased the book hoping to see additional images of Amache and Topaz, my Father's and Mother's respective camps. While I really didn't expect to see them in any of Dorothea Lange's photos, I came to realize that the pictures, absent any geographic landmarks, could easily have been taken in any of the ten camps. Some of the shots appear to have been editorially 'stylized', but I have been told that film speeds and camera shutters of the time were not conducive to candid images. It is clear that I have grown accustomed to a digital age with high resolution and strobe lights. Regardless, I very much appreciate and respect the effort undertaken in finally publishing these censored photos.
The ultimate surprise came from a non-Dorothea Lange photo at the beginning of the book. It shows a crowd of Issei and Nisei in San Francisco enroute to the Santa Anita assembly center. The photo not only shows Dorothea Lange holding a large format reflex camera in the background, it also shows my Father, Grandfather and Uncle! But for a man's fedora and a woman's hat blocking them, my Grandmother and other Uncle would also be visible.
A cropped version of the picture was shown on the front page of the April 7, 1942 edition of the San Francisco News, so it can be deduced that the photo was taken no later than April 6, 1942.
I can only hope that other Japanese American families will be able to identify significant relatives following close examination of these now un-censored photos.
Many, if not most of these photographs have never been seen on any widespread basis. She was working as a photographer for a government agency and they could use these as they saw fit. They were simply put away and never saw any widespread distribution. It is a testament to the skill and inspiration of the photographer that we have this book of unsentimental and honest images of that shameful time in our nation's past. The only minus is the size of the photos. I woud have liked to have a larger photos to study.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another interpretation of the WWII experience by Americans of Japanese AncestryPublished 8 months ago by Jmori
Mostly a photographic essay, but with two introductory essays of intellectual heft, the work represents probably the most readily accessible adult presentation of the Japanese... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Curious
Excellent essays accompany the photography, one describing Dorothea Lange and her photography, the other giving a clear picture of what the government did to the japanese... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Esther
This book is a hit in the gut! A beautiful and humane account of a shameful event told with compassion and understanding of a very precarious time. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Steinbecks Shadow
It's OK. I had hope to see pictures of Poston Arizona, where I was born, but most of the photos were in Northern California. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Larry Kimura