The military seized her photographs, quietly depositing them in the National Archives, where they remained mostly unseen and unpublished until 2006
The military commanders that reviewed her work realized that Lange’s contrary point of view was evident through her photographs, and seized them for the duration of World War II, even writing “Impounded” across some of the prints. The photos were quietly deposited into the National Archives, where they remained largely unseen until 2006.
Below, I’ve selected some of Lange’s photos from the National Archives—including the captions she wrote—pairing them with quotes from people who were imprisoned in the camps, as quoted in the excellent book, Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment.
I’ve also made a limited number of prints of her photos available for sale at Anchor Editions, and I’m donating 50% of the proceeds to two organizations fighting to protect immigrants: the NILC and the ACLU. Their fight seems especially important today given the current tide of anti-immigrant rhetoric, Muslim immigration bans, and the United States terminating DACA, which—if Congress does not pass the Dream Act—means 800,000 immigrants could lose their protected status.
This photo essay was originally published on December 7, 2016, the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. We’ve updated it this year, as the organizations we’re supporting continue to need your help. This month, print sale proceeds going to the NILC will be matched dollar-for-dollar by other NILC donors, so the NILC will get 100% of the value of any prints you order in December!