Ansel Adams: 210 Manzanar Intern Photographs Review

ANSEL ADAMS Art Book contains 210 reproductions of the Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar War Relocation Center.Adams original collection contained 244 images. We have edited the redundant portrait photographs to create a more enjoyable viewing experience.

Book includes Table of Contents and thumbnail gallery for ease of viewing.
All photographs were taken in 1943 and include descriptive titles and mini-biography on Ansel Adams.


Ansel Adams: 210 Manzanar Intern Photographs – Japanese Interns Review

Even though I have an interest in photography (and occasionally dabble in it), I’ve never deliberately sought out any of Ansel Adams photographs. So when I saw this one up on Kindle Unlimited, I thought “Why not?”

I don’t know what I think of the collection in Ansel Adams: 210 Manzanar Intern Photographs. There were a handful of them that really struck me, and I felt like his talent shone out in them. They were: Birds on a Wire, Burning leaves, C.T. Hibino, artist (1), Calesthenics (1), Chicken Farm, Line Crew at Work in Manzanar, Science lecture (2), Tom Kobayashi (1).

Birds on a Wire, Evening: This could have been taken anywhere. It’s a gorgeous shot with nothing in it to remind you of the horrible situation it was taken in.
Burning Leaves: It feels timeless. The fire, those gorgeous mountains in the background. It has a sense of peace that sinks into you.
C.T. Hibino, artist (1): I think this one strikes me because it looks so dimly lit and feels so dismal in the photograph, yet you clearly have a man doing something he loves and creating art.
Calisthenics: It has a cheerful feel to it. The young woman almost looks like she’s in cheerleading practice. Until you remember they’re all in an internment camp.
Chicken Farm: What can I say? It’s beautifully done. It draws your eye instantly, with the white chickens around the darker figure. The light coming in creates a reflection that could be any man, regardless of race. It sends a “We are people too” message more strongly, to me, than any other picture in the book.
Line Crew at Work in Manzanar: This doesn’t have the contrasts of some of the other photos, but it’s visually very interesting for being a simple subject. Your eye wants to crawl over all parts of the photograph repeatedly.
Science Lecture (2): I feel like this one brings home the internment camp thing. You have all those young men clustered together on folding chairs, holding their books on their laps. They’re determined to learn, even in sparse surroundings they shouldn’t have been forced into.
Tom Kobayashi (1): This is another one that you just want to keep looking at. The more you look at it, you see something a little different. My first viewing, I thought nothing more than it was a visually striking picture that again, could be taken with almost anyone. But then I looked again and now I see someone who looks subtly alien (a bit Spockish, actually.)

Again, though, even though I can admire some of the photographs in this Ansel Adams: 210 Manzanar Intern Photographs collection, I don’t know what I think of it. Adams’ photographs make it look like people were happy to be in the Internment Camps. I feel like I need to read more about him taking these photographs to understand why he chose the shots he did. The obvious thought is that he was just showing that they were people too, but how did it help the situation when everyone looked so… okay… with it?

I wish a little bit of that information had been included in this book.

  • Title: Ansel Adams: 210 Manzanar Intern Photographs
  • Authors: Daniel Ankele & Ansel Adams (site)
  • Publisher: Ankele Publishing, LLC
  • Pub. Date: June 7th, 2012
  • Pages: 225 pages
  • Source: Kindle Unlimited

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