In the series Camp Home (2007-present), I document the reuse of buildings from the Tule Lake and Heart Mountain Japanese internment camps, where members of my father’s family were incarcerated during World War ll. “Camp” is the term used by most Nisei, or first-generation Japanese Americans, to describe both the physical place they were held, as well as the wartime incarceration experience itself.
The barracks which served as de facto homes to internees at Tule Lake (in Northern California) and Heart Mountain (in Northwest Wyoming) were dispersed throughout the neighboring landscape following the war. Under government-sponsored homesteading, they were adapted into homes, barns and outbuildings by returning veterans, many of whom had fought in the Pacific theater. The buildings were important to their new start as farmers, and I’m interested in examining the changing value of these institutional architectural forms.
The act of searching for the buildings and approaching their owners is important to my process. I’m seeking family history -- both my own and that of the current building owners -- and time is often spent sharing our own uniquely American stories. Family histories intersect and are connected by the history of these buildings, and by the lives lived within their walls.