Internment Camps
Dorothea Lange, Manzanar, California, July 4, 1942, WRA
Dorothea Lange, Manzanar, California, July 4, 1942, WRA

Dorothea Lange arrived at Manzanar in late June 1942, nearly three months after the opening of the camp. One of her first priorities was to photograph the landscape surrounding the new camp. She captioned one of her first landscapes “A view of surrounding country flanked by beautiful mountains at this War Relocation Authority Center.” Four days later she took what has become her iconic longshot of the main thoroughfare with the flagpole at the center of the image and the mountains in the background. Beautiful though the mountains were, the arid land evident in the photographs of Albers and Lange offered proof positive that Japanese Americans had been relocated to an environment that offered little in the way of agricultural promise, and no apparent avenues of escape. Unlike Arvin, Marysville and the other FSA migrant camps that Lange’s photographs made famous, Manzanar was not designed as a way station. Lange wrote repeatedly in her captions that evacuees were being assigned to relocation centers “for the duration” a phrase that served as a constant reminder that internment had been deemed a military necessity and that internees would not be returning to their homes until the end of the war, if then.

Evacuation

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Internment Camp

Internment Camp
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Cultural Resistance

Cultural Resistance
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