The exhibit “Personal Responsibility: The Camp Photographs of Toyo Miyatake” will open on Saturday, April 7, at the Eastern California Museum in Independence. The exhibit features more than 70 black-and-white photos by Toyo Miyatake, showing many aspects of life in the Manzanar Relocation Center during WW II. There will be a brief presentation at 2 p.m., and light refreshments will be served throughout the day. The Museum is located at 155 N. Grant St., in Independence, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Miyatake was born in Japan and moved to American with his family when he was 14. Before being interned at Manzanar, he had become 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 U.S. and abroad. The Miyatake family was interned at Manzanar, and Toyo Miyatake later said he felt it was his responsibility to document camp life. He had smuggled into camp a camera lens and film, and his first photos were taken using a wooden, box camera made in camp. Eventually he was allowed to use his own photo equipment. 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 Dorthea Lange.
After the war, he returned to his studio in Little Tokyo. The museum-quality prints in the exhibit were created by Toyo’s son, Archie, who took over the Miyatake Studio after his father retied. 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 many 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.
For more info, call the Museum at 760.878.0258. -Press Release