Photographer Goes ‘Back to California’

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This group photo, taken in Rayo, near Visalia, includes Misaki Matsui’s grandfather (front row, fourth from left) and great-grandfather (front row, second from right). (From the collection of Takaji Matsui)

Photographer Misaki Matsui will give a presentation entitled “Back to California After 100 Years” on Saturday, July 20, at 2 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo, as part of the Tateuchi Public Program Series.

Misaki Matsui (Photo by Yuko Kawasaki)

Originally from Japan and based in New York, Matsui knew that her grandfather, Takaji, and great-grandfather, Sumizo, came to California temporarily from Suo-oshima Island, Yamaguchi Prefecture, 100 years ago and ran a vineyard, which her grandfather documented with his camera. Twenty years after Takaji passed away, she started studying his photo albums and notes, and took a trip to look for her roots.

During the lecture, she will explain her research by introducing black-and-white photos taken by her grandfather and the color photos she took at the same locations.

Matsui had an exhibition at JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Yokohama/Japanese Overseas Migration Museum from March to May of this year, and was recently interviewed by The Japan Times.

Born in Kobe, Matsui attended the Kala Art Institute’s Artist-in-Residence Program in Berkeley in 2011 and received honorable mention in the 2012 International Photography Awards competition. Her work has been displayed in solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and Japan. The theme of her photography, which includes landscape, portraiture and installation projects, is “No moment without hope.”

On the Web:

www.janm.org

www.misakimatsui.com

A farm in Visalia. (Photo by Misaki Matsui)

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