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A couple of weeks ago I posted four Library of Congress photographs (attributed to Russell Lee) of Tule Lake internment camp .

In follow up, I encourage you to check out the 200+ images of Tule Lake by Carl Mydans on the Google/LIFE archive. Mydans took these for a LIFE Magazine feature in 1944. [More down the page]

I am especially drawn to the photographs in which Mydans’ presence cannot be ignored – a blinding flash,or fixed stare. Are some of Mydans prints are attempts to be poetic? The scenarios for other prints seem invasive. [More, scroll down]

Mydans’ success was his portraits; his reportage of the interactions between internees and authorities appear to be staged. Maybe pictures were staged, or maybe authorities just fidgeted in front of the camera?

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For more about Japanese-American Internment during WWII, refer to the Densho archive of video-recorded oral testimony paired with images and documents of the time. It is the most thorough archive I know of.

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Found via International Center for Photography, FANS IN A FLASHBULB blog:


prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com


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