The photography of Ansel Adams is one of the most recognizable aesthetics in photography. Just one look at a black and white landscape, and it’s easy to identify who took the photograph. But Adams did more than just capturing the beauty of the American terrain.
The American photographer worked in the documentary field in 1943. Adams was to capture the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California and the Japanese-Americans who were assigned in there during the World War II. The creation of the center was from then President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed an act to make the West Coast a military zone in case insurgence from Japanese-Americans arise, although this was not specified in the act. Around 110,000 people of Japanese descent and ancestry were moved from their homes to relocation camps. Their businesses and ownerships were forcefully removed.
Perhaps this was due to the fact he and his family were very acquainted with a sick Issei (Japanese immigrant) named Harry Oye, who was picked up by the authorities and was sent o the hospital in Missouri. The event struck a chord with him.
A far cry from his iconic silver gelatin prints of landscapes, Adams focused on the injustice going on in there through family life, internees at work, recreational activities in the center. It wasn't until 1988 did the US government released an apology for the racial injustice towards the Japanese-Americans.
Images are from the Library of Congress, public domain.