Monday, June 25, 2012

Muller in the NYT on Images of Heart Mountain

Eric Muller, University of North Carolina, has an essay in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times, Injustice, in Kodachrome, which features Bill Manbo's photographs from his internment at Heart Mountain during World War II.  A slide show of Manbo's photos is on the NYT website.  The book, which will be out in August from the University of North Carolina Press, is Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II. While LHB readers may be familiar with black and white image from the camps taken by Dorothea Lange and others, one striking feature of Manbo's photographs is that they are in color.

Here's the book description:
In 1942, Bill Manbo and his family were forced from their Hollywood home into the Japanese American internment camp at Heart Mountain in Wyoming. While there, Manbo documented both the bleakness and beauty of his surroundings, using Kodachrome film, a technology then just seven years old, to capture community celebrations and to record his family's struggle to maintain a normal life under the harsh conditions of racial imprisonment. Colors of Confinement showcases sixty-five stunning images from this extremely rare collection of color photographs, presented along with three interpretive essays by leading scholars and a reflective, personal essay by a former Heart Mountain internee.

The subjects of these haunting photos are the routine fare of an amateur photographer: parades, cultural events, people at play, Manbo's son. But the images are set against the backdrop of the barbed-wire enclosure surrounding the Heart Mountain Relocation Center and the dramatic expanse of Wyoming sky and landscape. The accompanying essays illuminate these scenes as they trace a tumultuous history unfolding just beyond the camera's lens, giving readers insight into Japanese American cultural life and the stark realities of life in the camps.
Eric blogs about it at Faculty Lounge.  And there is more info at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies, which supported the project. Congratulations to Eric!