Ansel and Miyatake


Just recently, as I was organizing some files, I came across old pictures. Once again I was reminded how blessed I have been. I love photography, always have been so while most kids would save their money for shoes or clothing I saved mine for quality photography. As I mentioned, I grew up around Japanese Americans so it isn't a surprise that my best friend growing up was Japanese. For every graduation since elementary school, her parents would take her to Little Tokyo to be photographed and since she was my best friend, her parents would take me along. I loved the way Mr. Miyatake captured me and always made me look beautiful. As I grew up, he became my photographer. He took all my graduation pictures and became my family’s photographer. The last time I saw him was for my UCLA graduation picture. He felt I should wear pearls for my portrait picture because I had earned them and asked his daughter to lend me hers for the picture. He told me how proud he was of me and advised me not take anything for granted but most of all to be brave in life and not to fear it but enjoy it because it goes by quickly. He passed away that year. Last week I went to LA and as I was driving around I saw a banner for the LA Museum promoting the Ansel Adams and Toyo Miyatake exhibition. I was surprise “My Mr. Miyatake?” I wondered. I was surprised to find out that Toyo Miyatake and Ansel Adams where friends and collaborators. For the exhibition the main picture of Mr. Miyatake was taken by Ansel Adams. As a lover of photography I own 6 Ansel Adams, they were my first indulgences. I will admit, I was very surprised to know this side of Mr. Miyatake. I feel honored to own pictures of him and to have had him as my photographer. Who would have imagined that I, a girl from Boyle Heights would have such treasures and such magical experiences? Yes maybe Boyle Heights is how most people see it as gang and drug infested but to me it was a place filled with magic, beauty and lots of amazing people. I consider myself lucky to be from there and blessed that everyone I met there shaped me in a positive way.


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