Canadian War Museum presents Two Views – Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank

September 20, 2013

Ottawa, Ontario, September 20, 2013 — The Canadian War Museum is pleased to present an exhibition of evocative photographs illustrating the experiences of Japanese Canadians and Japanese Americans forcibly relocated during the Second World War. Two Views – Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank opens to the public today. Its presentation coincides with the 25th anniversary of the official apologies in 1988 by Canada and the United States to citizens of Japanese ancestry for their treatment during and after the war.

After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, nearly 22,000 Japanese Canadians and 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from coastal regions of western North America to internment and work camps.

“The suspension of the civil rights of Japanese Canadians and Japanese Americans during the Second World War is a significant chapter in the wartime experiences of Canada and the United States,” said James Whitham, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “We are pleased to host this exhibition from the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, British Columbia, and bring the work of these two renowned photographers to the War Museum.”

From 1943 to 1944, angered by what he heard about the U.S. government’s policy towards Japanese Americans, Ansel Adams made a number of trips at his own expense to the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California. His photographs capture the stark daily life and resilience of the 10,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated there. In difficult conditions, they transformed the desert to farmland, and set up schools, a newspaper, a co-op store and other essential services.

In Canada, photographer Leonard Frank accepted a contract from the British Columbia Security Commission to record the forced relocation of Japanese Canadians from the B.C. coast. He received full access to Hastings Park in Vancouver, where agricultural and commercial buildings served as a holding area, and horse stalls became bunk rooms for women and children. He also had access to the internment camps in British Columbia, and other sites in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

The work of these two photographers has many similarities, and also many differences. Adams took a personal, intimate approach to illustrate the vitality and fortitude of the Japanese Americans he photographed. In contrast, Frank’s images provide a more dispassionate documentation of the government process in Canada and its impact on the people interned.

Two Views – Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank will be on display at the War Museum from September 20, 2013 to March 23, 2014.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions.


Media contacts:

Yasmine Mingay
Manager, Public Affairs
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8608

Avra Gibbs Lamey
Communications and Media Relations Officer
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607