Friday, February 22, 2013

Internment, in Color - Bill Manbo

In all my research for GARDEN OF STONES, I never came across any color photographs - that is, until last June, when the New York Times ran a piece on a new book in the Review section. Not the NYTBR, that is, though they had nice things to say about COLORS OF CONFINEMENT: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II (Eric L. Muller, University of North Carolina Press).

Bill Manbo was an auto mechanic who dabbled in photography, and we have him to thank for these important images. He was sent to the Heart Mountain camp in Utah with his family.

I was not prepared for my visceral reaction to these photos. Color imbued the images with a sense of immediacy that overcame my distance from other images of life in the camps. The people seemed more real to me - less like historic figures and more like everyday people captured at a brief moment in a difficult time in their lives.



Read the article and view a slide show here, or check out the book.

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