Elena Tajima CreefJun 17, 2022
Seeing Japanese/American and Ainu Women in Photographic Archives
University of Illinois Press 2022
Images of Japanese and Japanese American women can teach us what it meant to be visible at specific moments in history. In Shadow Traces: Seeing Japanese/American and Ainu Women in Photographic Archives (U Illinois Press, 2022), Elena Tajima Creef employs an Asian American feminist vantage point to examine ways of looking at indigenous Japanese Ainu women taking part in the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition; Japanese immigrant picture brides of the early twentieth century; interned Nisei women in World War II camps; and Japanese war brides who immigrated to the United States in the 1950s. Creef illustrates how an against-the-grain viewing of these images and other archival materials offers textual traces that invite us to reconsider the visual history of these women and other distinct historical groups. As she shows, using an archival collection's range as a lens and frame helps us discover new intersections between race, class, gender, history, and photography.
Innovative and engaging, Shadow Traces illuminates how photographs shape the history of marginalized people and outlines a method for using such materials in interdisciplinary research.