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Talon

Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps

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 Talon    716

The military seized her photographs, quietly depositing them in the National Archives, where they remained mostly unseen and unpublished until 2006

Dorothea Lange—well-known for her FSA photographs like Migrant Mother—was hired by the U.S. government to make a photographic record of the “evacuation” and “relocation” of Japanese-Americans in 1942. She was eager to take the commission, despite being opposed to the effort, as she believed “a true record of the evacuation would be valuable in the future.”

The military commanders that reviewed her work realized that Lange’s contrary point of view was evident through her photographs, and seized them for the duration of World War II, even writing “Impounded” across some of the prints. The photos were quietly deposited into the National Archives, where they remained largely unseen until 2006.

I wrote more about the history of Lange’s photos and President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 initiating the Japanese Internment in another post on the Anchor Editions Blog.

Below, I've selected some of Lange’s photos from the National Archives—including the captions she wrote—pairing them with quotes from people who were imprisoned in the camps, as quoted in the excellent book, Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment.

https://anchoreditions.com/blog/dorothea-lange-censored-photographs

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Putting them in camps can be looked at in a different way.

Being in those camps was probably the safest place for them during WWII.

I would imagine if they were in the general public many would have been harmed.

Just a thought.

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