Portfolio > E.O. 9066

"The Watchtower"
"The Watchtower"
sitka spruce, pine, image transfers, rice bowls, glass, paper
35" x 15" x 6"

Toyo Miyatake worked as a Los Angeles portrait photographer before he was interned at Manzanar. Although the internees were not allowed to have cameras, Miyatake fashioned one from parts he brought with him in his luggage, and created a camera that looked like a lunchbox. The pictures he clandestinely took at the camp are the first and possibly the only ones that show the plight of US Citizens through the eyes of those detained in the camps during the war.

Miyatake took the photo of the guard's tower depicted to the left of this work.

On the right, the wooden rice bowls are painted black and are behind glass - the meals at the camps were served in mess halls and served in tin pie plates. The fare was government commodity foods and castoff meat from Army surplus — hot dogs, ketchup, kidneys, Spam and potatoes. The Japanese diet and family meals were no longer a part of daily life.