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Color Blind, the Blog

Baseball and Barbed Wire

The Library of Congress is a dusty attic crammed with memorabilia and geegaws. In researching Color Blind I had occasion to rummage through the online annex of that attic, where I found a few wonderful surprises. This photograph is an example. Just another rec league baseball game, right? Not quite.

The game was played in 1943…at Manzanar War Relocation Center in California, a Japanese-American internment camp constructed at the foot of the Sierra mountains. If something about the panoramic sweep of the picture feels familiar, perhaps that’s because the man behind the camera happened to be Ansel Adams, who was taking a rare break from landscape photography.

When Adams donated his stash of several hundred Manzanar images to the Library of Congress in 1965, he explained, "The purpose of my work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice…had overcome the sense of defeat and dispair [sic] by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment.”

Click on the photo above to see it full size. You can view highlights of Adams’ Manzanar collection on the Library of Congress website. Use the link http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/anseladams/aamsp.html
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