Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Archie Miyatake Interview
Narrator: Archie Miyatake
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: August 31 & September 1, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-marchie-02-0020

AM: And so when the studio was opened he had to get a Caucasian guy to take pictures, but the thing about it is, like I, one time after taking a picture of about two hundred people, this fellow was going, near the closing time, so he took the lens off because he was taking the lens home with him every night so my father can't use it. Well, he took the lens off the camera when the film was still in there, ruined the picture, so my father got so mad at him because film's so hard to get and he did a thing like that, so this guy, after three, four months, he quit. So after he quit my father went to the camp director, told him what happened, so the camp director thought and thought. He was pretty good friends with my father by then, so camp director told him, "I tell you what. I'll get a Caucasian housewife, the husband works at Manzanar, but the wife at, in middle of the desert they have nothing to do all day, so I'll get one of those ladies to be in the studio, and while she's there you can take the picture yourself." I thought, oh, my father thought that's great, that if he could take the picture himself, there's nothing like it. So she would be there, so my father was taking the pictures, and then at the end of the day this lady would take the lens with her so he won't have any lens to take pictures with. Well, each, these ladies, after they worked for a while they would get so bored all day, they'd do nothing but just stay at studio, so one after another they'd quit. So each time they quit my father went to the camp director to find a replacement. After about five, six ladies the camp director said, "You know what, Toyo, I can't see anything goin' down the left side of me," so my father caught on right away, so from then on he was doing all the photographing himself.

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