This exhibition debuts a recent acquisition of fifty photographs by Ansel Adams documenting the Manzanar War Relocation Center in Inyo County, California.
In 1943, Adams was invited to create a photographic record of this government facility, in which hundreds of tarpaper barracks were built to house more than 10,000 people behind barbed wire and gun towers. All residents were of Japanese ancestry, but most were American citizens forcibly removed from their homes and businesses and relocated to the camp by presidential order. While this series includes some of Adams’s signature iconic landscapes, it mostly comprises views of daily life, sports and leisure activities, agricultural scenes, and portraits.
Describing this project, Adams wrote, “The purpose of my work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, and loss of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and despair by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment.” An important historical document and work of art, this renowned series touches on a wide range of topics from documentary photography and the politics of representation to U.S. and world history, race, and identity.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, Photographs of Manzanar by Ansel Adams reproduces Adams' documentary photographs of the Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar War Relocation Center.