fredag den 1. juli 2011

Born Free and Equal- Ansel Adams

In 1944 the great photographer Ansel Adams published a book of photographs from the Manzanar Relocation center in California. His purpose was to show what camp life was like to the average American citizen. He attempted to show the Japanese-Americans as individuals, as people with feelings and emotions. A people with lives not so different than that of any other American.
Ansel commends the Japanese-Americans. "From the harsh soil they have extracted fine crops; they have made gardens glow in the firebreaks and between the barracks. Out of the jostling, dusty confusion of the first bleak days in raw barracks they have modulated to a democratic internal society and a praiseworthy personal adjustment to conditions beyond their control."
The photos show the smiling faces of a people who were making the best of the situation they were in; which of course they were. However, it is a distorted portrait that Mr. Adams projects. Each published photograph, and each word of text in this book about equality and freedom,  had to be approved by the U.S. gov't.

Just beyond the range of the photographers lens are the guard towers surrounding the camp; machine guns pointed in towards the children as they play, and the men as they work the fields.
... "As a nation we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it " all men are created equal, except Negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners and Catholics." When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty.... Where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."  Abraham Lincoln, 1855

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