Through the lense of T. Utsushigawa

Last night I found a picture taken by my maternal great-grandfather of the City Market of Los Angeles, over 96 years ago. I don’t know much about T. Utsushigawa, save for what my mom has told me.
City Market of Los Angeles, California, 9th & San Pedro Street, August 8th 1910. Shot by T. Utsushigawa (click on the picture for a larger version).
According to my mom, my great-grandfather established himself as a prominent photographer, but like most Americans of Japanese descent he lost everything when he was interred in the concentration camps of World War II.
This picture has great value to me because it is a tangible piece of heritage, part of his life and occupation. Thanks to the Library of Congress photo archive, I was able to see an America that he lived in. If you look closely, you will notice that the cars in the crowded parking lot are, in fact, covered wagons (or horse drawn carriages if you prefer). It almost looks as if he was there right after the taming of the Wild West.
This is the only picture that I can find, but hopefully more can be uncovered with a more extensive search.

6 thoughts on “Through the lense of T. Utsushigawa”

  1. Good sleuthing, Adam! Your great-grandfather was a unique, highly-gifted, ambitious and very “driven” entrepreneur/artiste (notice, artist with an “e”!) My favorite photo of “Tom” was in front of his prized Huppmobile, all decked out in his trademark French beret and cravat.
    Spotted by American playwright/theatrical producer, David Belasco (“The Emperor of Broadway”) in downtown L.A.’s Belasco Theater, your great-grandfather went from sweeping floors to capturing dramatic poses of the stars of Belasco’s plays. There’s lots more information and some great photos which your maternal grandmother has to share, so good luck with learning from her, more about your temperamental, Tootsie Roll pop-eating ancestor!

  2. Hi Higo,
    Well I’ve got some interesting news for you. I’m working on a project for City Market Los Angeles and we just happened to be using some of your grandfathers photos he took from 1909-1927 for the very market place. We’d like to share them with you.
    Shoot me off an email when you have a chance.
    Post Production Supervisor

  3. Hi, I’m framing a series of your great grandfathers photos that document the City Market of Los Angeles 1910 – 1935. Found you while doing some research on him. Nice work.

Comments are closed.