Bill Manbo, Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II
Bill Manbo, a Japanese American, was an avid amateur photographer, even through internment during WWII. While photographic equipment was prohibited from many incarceration centers at the start of the war, Manbo shot hundreds of photographs within the barbed wire boundary of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. Throughout his detainment, he documented public gatherings, cultural ceremonies, and family portraits.
After the war, Manbo’s slides were stored in a closet for decades. Eric L. Muller, editor of Colors of Confinement, found out about Manbo’s work from his colleague Bacon Sakatani, also an internee at Heart Mountain, while developing an exhibit for the recently founded Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center. Since the use of color film was rare for the time, the lives of Japanese Americans incarcerated throughout WWII are usually seen through the grainy distance of black and white film. Manbo’s color images are a vivid reminder that internment camps on US soil are part of our not so distant history.
These images had not previously been published prior to Colors of Confinement, released August 2012 by University of North Carolina Press and Duke University Center for Documentary Studies. An exhibition featuring photographs from Colors of Confinement opened this week at the Center for Documentary studies, in the William And Ida Friday Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
For more information about the exhibit, running through December 14th, visit documentarystudies.duke.edu, and to purchase the book, visit uncpress.unc.edu.