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Photo of the week #156

K. Furukawa

Man Overlooking the Grand Canyon, c. 1930's black and white photograph

Overlooking the Grand Canyon, c. 1930's
Vintage Bromide Print 7 1/2 x 9 3/4"


August, 24 2021

PHOTOGRAPH OF THE WEEK is currently celebrating Japanese Americans who pioneered the photographic art form in the early 20th century.

In this photograph, K. Furukawa evokes Carleton Watkins and the other great West Coast landscape photographers of the 19th century who helped inspire the creation of the National Park System. Furukawa would likely have been aware that Watkins, like himself, had adopted San Francisco as his home.

Furukawa was a member of the Japanese Camera Club of San Francisco, and he served as the group's treasurer from 1937-38. He actively exhibited his photography until the U.S. entered into WWII.
The Japanese Camera Club of San Francisco was one of several clubs on the West Coast that were established by Japanese immigrants in order to exhibit art photography. While the West Coast clubs were very influential in the period, and the camera club in San Francisco was the largest of its day, very few examples of the San Francisco work remain. Prints were destroyed or hidden by photographers as Japanese Americans were being sent to internment camps after Pearl Harbor. Even after the war, anti-Japanese sentiment lingered, a fact that helps explain why so many Japanese American photographers didn't resume public exhibitions after their release.