Toyo Miyatake’s Photographs Of Manzanar On Exhibit at Eastern California Museum During Annual Manzanar Reception

The following is a press release from the Eastern California Museum.

Toyo Miyatake
Photo: Ansel Adams, Library of Congress

INDEPENDENCE, CA — An exhibit featuring more than 60 black-and-white photos by Toyo Miyatake, showing many aspects of life in the Manzanar concentration camp during World War II, will greet those attending the Eastern California Museum’s Annual Manzanar Reception on Friday, April 27, 2012, from 2:00 – 8:00 PM.

The exhibit, Personal Responsibility: The Camp Photographs of Toyo Miyatake, opened April 7 at the Eastern California Museum, located at 155 North Grant Street, in Independence, six miles north of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Before being incarcerated at Manzanar, Miyatake was a well-known and highly respected photographer in Los Angeles. His photographs included traditional portraits and cutting edge, modern photography featured in numerous exhibits in the United States and abroad.

The Miyatake family was incarcerated at Manzanar, and Toyo Miyatake later said he felt it was his responsibility to document camp life. His photos of Manzanar have been included in many books, and are often likened, in quality, technique and storytelling, to Manzanar photos taken by contemporaries such as Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange.

After the war, he returned to his studio in Little Tokyo. Following his retirement, Toyo Miyatake’s son, Archie, who was also incarcerated at Manzanar, took over the studio, and created the museum-quality prints in the exhibit.

Funding to purchase the photo prints in the exhibit was provided by a California Civil Liberties Public Education Program grant in 2000.

In 2011, Toyo Miyatake’s contributions to his community and to photography, before, during and after his internment in Manzanar, led to him being honored and remembered by having a street in Little Tokyo named Toyo Miyatake Way, and the installation of a bronze relief of the photographer.

The annual Manzanar Reception, held during the same weekend as the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, is a relaxed event featuring light refreshments, and is a chance to reconnect with old friends and those new to the Pilgrimage experience. The Museum has an extensive collection of Manzanar artifacts, and hundreds of Manzanar photos on display in its Shi Nomura Collection.

For more information about the Miyatake exhibit or the reception, call (760) 878-0258. The Eastern California Museum is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.



Recreation Area in Firebreak, west of Manzanar Auditorium
Photo: Toyo Miyatake, courtesy Eastern California Museum


General Store, Block 21 at Manzanar
Photo: Toyo Miyatake, courtesy Eastern California Museum

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