You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Masumi Hayashi’ tag.

© Kevin Miyazaki

Last year, I met Kevin Miyazaki. I told him of my project at Prison Photography and he told me off his recent project Camp Home.

Before I deal specifically with Kevin’s personal project of insistent history, let me briefly set some context for thinking about photography as it relates to WWII Japanese internment. Kevin and I discussed the well known photographers who visited the internment camps in California – Clem Albers, Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams.

“Richard Kobayashi, farmer with cabbages, Manzanar Relocation Center, California.” Ansel Adams, photographer. Photographic print, 1943. Reproduction numbers: LC-USZC4-5616 (color film copy transparency); LC-A35-4-M-31 (B&W film negative)

Adams’ was often criticised for his seemingly apolitical – almost bucolic – images of internees. The accusation was that Adams made the place look like a site of vacation and not of incarceration; this was a criticism I held too … until I met Kevin.

Kevin explained that Adams purposefully avoided depicting the internees as victims; Adams knew his (government-assigned) photographs would reach a large population, and into that population internees would eventually return. Adams’ intention was to protect, promote – even elevate – the dignity of his subjects.

One astonishing fact from this era, is that over two thirds of internees were American citizens.

Kevin and I also talked about Andrew Freeman, Mark Kirchner (both dealing with Manzanar) and the late and great Masumi Hayashi.

CAMP HOME

During WWII, at the age of thirteen, Miyazaki’s father was interned at Tule Lake in the Klamath Basin, CA, just shy of the Oregon border. Kevin work deals with the physical and domestic remains of that historical moment and movement:

“The barracks used to house Japanese and Japanese American internees were dispersed throughout the neighboring landscape following the war. Adapted into homes and outbuildings by returning veterans under a homesteading movement, many still stand on land surrounding the original camp site. In photographing these buildings, I explore family history, both my own and that of the current building owners – this is physical space where our unique American histories come together. Because photography was forbidden by internees, very few photographs of homelife were made by the families themselves. So my pictures act as evidence, though many years later, of a domestication rarely recorded during the initial life of the structures”, explains Miyazaki.

Well, I’d like to share with you a few Library of Congress images (1, 2, 3 & 4) I located on Flickr.

Japanese-American camp, war emergency evacuation, [Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, Calif. 1942 or 1943] 1 transparency : color. Collection: Library of Congress.

While looking at these Russell Lee attributed photographs consider these words about Miyazaki’s Camp Home by Karen Higa, Adjunct Senior Curator of Art at the Japanese American National Museum, wrote:

“President Franklin Roosevelt Delano Roosevelt ignored his own administration’s intelligence and in February 1942 issued Executive Order 9066, a presidential decree that paved the way for the largest mass movement of civilians in modern American history. Initially Japanese Americans were forbidden from living in western coastal regions; weeks later the US government began moving more that 110,000 civilians into temporary detention centers and finally to permanent camps. Over 700 government issued barracks were constructed o the dry lake bed at Tule Lake creating what amounted tot he largest population in a region of wind-swept sage brush.”

“The people that settled in Klamath after the war may not bear the specific responsibility of incarceration, but they share a generalized sense that something happened. their homes have a prior life worth recognizing.”

Japanese-American camp, war emergency evacuation, [Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, Calif. 1942 or 1943] 1 transparency : color. Original caption card speculated that this photo was part of a series taken by Russell Lee to document Japanese Americans in Malheur County, Ore. Re-identified as Tule Lake because of similarity to LC-USW36-789, which shows Abalone Mountain. Title from FSA or OWI agency caption. Photo shows eight women standing in front of a camp barber shop. Transfer from U.S. Office of War Information, 1944.

Japanese-American camp, war emergency evacuation, [Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, Calif. 1942 or 1943] 1 transparency : color. Original caption card speculated that this photo was part of a series taken by Russell Lee to document Japanese Americans in Malheur County, Ore. Re-identified as Tule Lake because of similarity to LC-USW36-789, which shows Abalone Mountain. Title from FSA or OWI agency caption. Photo shows eight women standing in front of a camp barber shop. Transfer from U.S. Office of War Information, 1944.

Japanese-American camp, war emergency evacuation, [Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, Calif. 1942 or 1943]. 1 transparency : color. Original caption card speculated that this photo was part of a series taken by Russell Lee to document Japanese Americans in Malheur County, Ore., and showed people transplanting celery. Re-identified as Tule Lake because of similarity to LC-USW36-789, which shows Abalone Mountain. Title from FSA or OWI agency caption. Transfer from U.S. Office of War Information, 1944. Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print Part Of: Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Collection 12002-55 (DLC) 93845501.

ELSEWHERES

It’s uncanny how the internet works sometimes. This image was the subject of some debate over at the Oregon State University Flickr Commons archive. Unsurprisingly, Kevin’s work was noted and praised there too.

KEVIN

As well as an excuse to wade through the various photographic approaches to Tule Lake internment camp, this post was to bring attention to Kevin’s ongoing contributions to the photo community. Kevin extends his teaching beyond his Milwaukee classroom and does us all a service by listing the interviews he serves up his class, on the class blog. Last week, Flak Photo called out for some more suggestions to the pile.

Kevin also launched collect.give last year which offers choice prints by respected photographers for prices no-one can quibble. All proceeds to good causes.

– – –

Kevin J. Miyazaki (b. 1966, USA) is a freelance editorial and fine art photographer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He began his career on the staff of The Cincinnati Enquirer, and later became the photography director at Cincinnati Magazine. He went on to become the photographer at Milwaukee Magazine. His publication credits include, Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Fortune, National Geographic Traveler and numerous others. He is represented by Redux Pictures.

Advertisements
Granada (Amache) Relocation Camp, Foundations, Prowers, Colorado © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1997. Size: 23" x 31"

Granada (Amache) Relocation Camp, Foundations, Prowers, Colorado © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1997. Size: 23" x 31"

Masumi Hayashi visited every permanent site of Japanese American internment; such was her dedication to its historical truth and visual legacy. I’d like to pay tribute to Hayashi’s artistic rigour, the project and above all her life.

Masumi Hayashi 1945 - 2006

Masumi Hayashi 1945 - 2006

This post is not only a celebration of meaningful photography but also of a life cut short in tragic circumstances.

Gila River Relocation Camp, Dog Grave, Gila River, Arizona © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 38" x 31"

Gila River Relocation Camp, Dog Grave, Gila River, Arizona © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 38" x 31"

Prison Photography has needed to limit itself in discussion, so rich and extensive was Hayashi’s oeuvre. I recommend that you spend a long time meditating her Prison series, Salt Mine series and a spectacular EPA Superfund Sites series.

Let us focus, for now, on the issue at hand – Japanese American Internment.

Professor Hayashi photographed all 10 internment camps on American soil. She also documented the 4 Canadian internment sites. It was a subject close to her heart — she was born at the Gila River Relocation camp in Arizona in 1945.

In most cases, Hayashi photographed a full 360 degrees. The gradient of exposure in her photo montages and her extruded viewpoint lent visual richness, height and vertigo to otherwise mundane landscapes. Hayashi’s indelible presence in the works is a reminder of the former human presence in inhumane environments.

Gila River Relocation Camp, Monument, Gila River, Arizona © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 31" x 75"

Gila River Relocation Camp, Monument, Gila River, Arizona © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 31" x 75"

Gila River Relocation Camp, Foundations, Gila River, Arizona © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1990. Size: 22" x 56"

Gila River Relocation Camp, Foundations, Gila River, Arizona © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1990. Size: 22" x 56"

Topaz Relocation Camp, Foundations, Delta, Utah © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 31" x 72"

Topaz Relocation Camp, Foundations, Delta, Utah © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 31" x 72"

Hayashi’s composite tactic solves the problematic banality of many of the sites. She describes here and here that many of the sites as barren and sun bleached (Manzanar, CA has been well-preserved as a memorial and state park, but it is the exception). The most common denominator among the sites was the concrete sewage system. The large peripheral tanks always remained long after the sheds and tended plots had decayed. A brick structure was a treat, and wooden barns, anomalies.

Minidoka Relocation Camp, Visitors Waiting Room, Minidoka, Idaho © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1992. Size: 27" x 70"

Minidoka Relocation Camp, Visitors Waiting Room, Minidoka, Idaho © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1992. Size: 27" x 70"

Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, Blue Room, Park, Wyoming © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 23" x 45"

Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, Blue Room, Park, Wyoming © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 23" x 45"

Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, Interior, Park, Wyoming © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 31" x 42"

Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, Interior, Park, Wyoming © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 31" x 42"

Hayashi’s endeavours cannot be underestimated. As Candida Hofer noted;

If you consider that each individual photograph has four sides (trust me) then multiply by two decisions for each side—where to cut the edge, where to place in relation to the adjacent photo—that’s eight decisions right there. Then multiply that by say 45 photos (the number in ‘Jain Temple’ for example). That’s 360 decisions! When was the last time you did anything that required 360 of anything?

and

For those of you sitting there thinking, “Oh, yeah, I could take a bunch of little pictures of something too.” No, you couldn’t. Not like this. Her style is built on solid conventional photographic methods (each picture must itself be a very good picture).

Extraordinary.

Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, Hospital, Park, Wyoming © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 32" x 70"

Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, Hospital, Park, Wyoming © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 32" x 70"

Manzanar Relocation Camp, Tree View, Inyo, California © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage withFuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 27" x 63"

Manzanar Relocation Camp, Tree View, Inyo, California © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage withFuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 27" x 63"

Manzanar Relocation Camp, Monument (Version 1), Inyo, California © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 20" x 30"

Manzanar Relocation Camp, Monument (Version 1), Inyo, California © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 20" x 30"

In addition to her photographic work, Hayashi conducted audio interviews of former internees to develop a complete sense of experience across the American internment archipelago.

Manzanar Relocation Camp, Guard Gates, Inyo, California © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1992. Size: 27" x 65"

Manzanar Relocation Camp, Guard Gates, Inyo, California © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1992. Size: 27" x 65"

Granada (Amache) Relocation Camp, Water Tank, Prowers, Colorado © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1997. Size: 23" x 31"

Granada (Amache) Relocation Camp, Water Tank, Prowers, Colorado © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1997. Size: 23" x 31"

Jerome Relocation Camp, Farm, Drew & Chicot, Arkansas © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 22" x 59"

Jerome Relocation Camp, Farm, Drew & Chicot, Arkansas © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 22" x 59"

In August 2006, Hayashi along with her neighbour John Jackson, knocked at the door of the apartment of another neighbour Jacob Cifelli to complain oncemore about his high volume music. It was the last of many noise complaints. Cifelli shot them both to death in the stairwell.

The story has added tragedy as Hayashi had recently reunited with her biological daughter, Lisa Takata, after 39 years of estrangement. Hayashi gave Takata up for adoption within a few days after her birth in the midst of the Watts Riots in 1965.

Photographer, artist and fellow Cleveland resident, Norm Roulet summed up the loss of Hayashi;

I am saddened and horrified to now recognize Masumi Hayashi as the finest photographer and one of the greatest artists Northeast Ohio has ever know, as she was murdered last night in her studio. All local arts lovers and artists certainly knew Masumi and her remarkable work, and of the great value she brought to CSU as a professor there. Her loss to Northeast Ohio as an arts community cannot be overstated. Now, every time I paste together my collages I’ll think of Masumi in fond remembrance. Rest in peace, Masumi Hayashi – I apologize to you for the insanity that is Cleveland today.

Rest in peace, indeed.

Jerome Relocation Camp, Sewer, Drew & Chicot, Arkansas © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 23" x 55"

Jerome Relocation Camp, Sewer, Drew & Chicot, Arkansas © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1995. Size: 23" x 55"

Tule Lake Relocation Camp, Sewer, Tulelake, California © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1996. Size: 32" x 59"

Tule Lake Relocation Camp, Sewer, Tulelake, California © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1996. Size: 32" x 59"

Poston lll Relocation Camp, Sewer, Yuma, Arizona © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1997. Size: 26" x 63"

Poston lll Relocation Camp, Sewer, Yuma, Arizona © Masumi Hayashi. Panoramic photo collage with Fuji Crystal Archive prints, 1997. Size: 26" x 63"

Masumi Hayashi’s work has been exhibited in internationally respected museums and galleries, including the International Center for Photography in New York, the L.A. County Art Museum, the Japanese American National Museum (L.A.), the Tokyo Museum of Photography, the Ludwig Museum of Art in Germany, and the Victoria and Albert Museum of Photography in London, England. In 2003, she had a retrospective one-person exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Professor Hayashi taught photography for 24 years at Cleveland State University, Ohio.

Gallery with pop-out full size images

Thanks to Matt Kelley at Criminal Justice Change.org for alerting me to Hayashi’s work.

EMAIL

prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

@BROOKPETE ON TWITTER

Prison Photography Archives

Post Categories

Advertisements