Toyo's Camera: Japanese American History During WWII
A Film by Junichi Suzuki
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Toyo Miyatake was a distinguished Los Angeles studio photographer who counted among his friends and mentors Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. In 1942, Miyatake and his family were incarcerated at Manzanar, where photographic equipment of any kind was forbidden. However, Toyo smuggled in a lens and a film carrier, and with scrap wood, he fashioned a camera. He was the only internee to photographically document the camp and the life of its prisoners.
Toyo's Camera, a 2009 feature documentary film, tells the stories of Japanese Americans during World War II through the photographs of Miyatake as well as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, close to 500 images in all. Additionally, interviews with over thirty individuals and the use of archival footage contribute to this first-of-its-kind film presentation. It also features an evocative soundtrack, with the music of acclaimed artist Kitaro and Linkin Park singer Mike Shimoda.