Art and Photography Books--Lange to Searle

Lange, Dorothea (Author) and Linda Gordon (Editor).  Impounded (W. W. Norton, 2006).

This indelible work of visual and social history confirms Dorothea Lange's stature as one of the twentieth century's greatest American photographers. Presenting 119 images originally censored by the U.S. Army—the majority of which have never been published—Impounded evokes the horror of a community uprooted in the early 1940s and the stark reality of the internment camps. With poignancy and sage insight, nationally known historians Linda Gordon and Gary Okihiro illuminate the saga of Japanese American internment: from life before Executive Order 9066 to the abrupt roundups and the marginal existence in the bleak, sandswept camps. In the tradition of Roman Vishniac's A Vanished World, Impounded, with the immediacy of its photographs, tells the story of the thousands of lives unalterably shattered by racial hatred brought on by the passions of war.

 

Langley, Andrew.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Fire from the Sky (Compass Point Books, 2006).

On the morning of August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, another bomb fell on Nagasaki. Both cities were devastated. More than 120,000 men, women, and children were killed or mortally wounded within seconds of the blast. Thousands more would die from radiation sickness. Though the bombings prompted Japan_s surrender and brought about the end of World War II, they ushered in an era in which we all live under the long, dark shadow of nuclear annihilation.  

 

Newhouse, Alana.  A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward (W.W. Norton, 2007).

This extraordinary volume features classic photographs of the history one has learned to associate with the Forward—Lower East Side pushcarts, Yiddish theater, labor rallies—along with gems no one would expect. The premiere national Jewish newspaper has opened up its never-before-seen archives, revealing a photographic landscape of Jews in the twentieth century and beyond. From shtetl beauty contests and matchmakers caught mid-deal to the streets of the New World; from diaspora communities and mandate Palestine to the Holocaust, the Soviet Jewry movement, and the emergence of Jewish suburbia; from Paul Muni and Barbra Streisand to Woody Allen and Madonna—this book is a kaleidoscopic array of modern Jewish life. Original essays are included by leading intellectuals and historians, including Leon Wieseltier, J. Hoberman, Roger Kahn, and Deborah E. Lipstadt, plus an introduction by Pete Hamill.  A great gift book in the tradition of Roman Vishniac's A Vanished World and Frederic Brenner's Diaspora: Homelands in Exile. 531 duotone photographs.

 

O’Donnel, Joe.  Japan 1945: A U.S. Marine's Photographs From Ground Zero (Vanderbilt University Press, 2005).

In September 1945 Joe O’Donnell was a twenty-three-year-old Marine Corps photographer wading ashore in Japan, then under American occupation. His orders were to document the aftermath of U.S. bombing raids in Japanese cities, including not only Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also cities such as Sasebo, one of the more than sixty Japanese cities firebombed before the atomic blasts. "The people I met," he now recalls, "the suffering I witnessed, and the scenes of incredible devastation taken by my camera caused me to question every belief I had previously held about my so-called enemies." 

In addition to the official photographs he turned over to his superiors, O’Donnell recorded some three hundred images for himself, but following his discharge from the Marines he could not bear to look at them. He put the negatives in a trunk that remained unopened until 1989, when he finally felt compelled to confront once more what he had he had seen through his lens during his seven months in postwar Japan. Now, for this remarkable book, seventy-four of these photographs have been assembled. The images of destruction—a panorama of Ground Zero at Nagasaki, a lone building still standing near the Aioi Bridge at Hiroshima, a fourteen-year-old burn victim lying in a coma—are, of course, wrenching beyond words. But the book includes hopeful images as well, and these are equally affecting—children playing on a road, young girls carrying their infant siblings on their backs as they go about everyday routines, geishas performing a traditional dance, Marine boots mingled with Japanese sandals outside a church entrance. 

 

 

Robinson, Gerald H.  Elusive Truth: Four Photographers at Manzanar (Carl Mautz Publishers, 2002).

In 1942, The United States government declared 110,000 American Japanese residents a threat to national security and incarcerated them in eleven relocation camps around the country. One such camp, Manzanar, was located near Lone Pine in the Owens Valley, east of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Four photographers—Ansel Adams, Clem Albers, Dorothea Lange, and Toyo Miyatake—photographed Manzanar and its residents at various times throughout its three year existence. Their photographs tell the story of Manzanar from four different perspectives. Taken together, they offer a glimpse of the elusive truth of the relocation camps—a cautionary and poignant tale of pain, injustice, and the triumph of the human spirit. 

  


Searle, Ronald.  To the Kwai-And Back: War Drawings 1939-1945 (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986).

In 1939, as an art student, Ronald Searle volunteered for the army, embarking for Singapore in 1941. Within a month of his arrival there, however, he became a prisoner of the Japanese, and after 14 months in a prisoner-of-war camp, was sent north to a work camp on the Burma Railway. In May 1944, he was sent to the notorious Changi Gaol in Singapore and became one of the few British soldiers to survive imprisonment there. Throughout his captivity, despite the risk, Ronald Searle made drawings to record his experiences. The drawings in this remarkable book were hidden by Searle and smuggled from place to place, stained with the sweat and dirt of his captivity. They are a record of one man's war and are among the most important and moving accounts of the Second World War.