A Letter from Japan: The Photographs of John Swope

Main Gallery

A letter from JapanJohn Swope, Arai, September 5, 1945, gelatin silver print. UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum. Gift of the John Swope Trust, © John Swope Trust.

This exhibition features photographs from American John Swope's three-and-a-half week journey to Japan in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Officially traveling with the U.S. military to document the release of Allied prisoners of war, Swope also photographed Japanese civilians and the country's war-ravaged landscapes. His striking images, coupled with a letter Swope composed to his wife during the trip, create a highly complex portrait of two nations and their people as they move from bitter war to fragile peace.

A Letter from Japan: The Photographs of John Swope was organized by the Hammer Museum. The exhibition and catalogue are generously supported by Gail and Jerry Oppenheimer, with additional support from Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, The Judith Rothschild Foundation, Shirlee Fonda, and Jane Wyatt. Additional support is provided by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Myers Foundations; and Terra Foundation for American Art.