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Shigemi Uyeda

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Shigemi Uyeda

Japanese, d. 20th Century
Photographer Shigemi Uyeda was born in 1902 in Hiroshima, Japan, and died in 1980 in Westminster, California. He immigrated to the United States at age fifteen, joining brothers who had settled in the Central Valley. He worked in farming all his life, first as a day laborer, and by 1926, on his own farm in Lancaster where he raised alfalfa and poultry.

Uyeda began photographing in 1919, and became part of the artistic community of Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo. For photographers, much activity revolved around the Japanese Camera Pictorialists of California - a camera club founded in 1923. Though Uyeda was never an official member, he socialized and exhibited prints with the club.

Despite modest means, Uyeda created photographs that were widely circulated and appreciated throughout the 20s and 30s. He used his bedroom closet as a darkroom, producing prints that won in photographic salons and were featured in magazines such as the German Bauhaus’s New Vision, Soviet Foto, and Great Britain’s Photogram of the Year. In 1942, the artist and his family were interned in Poston, Arizona, after which he ceased exhibiting work publicly.

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