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Noted Photographer/Educator Patrick Nagatani Passes at 72

“Trinity Site, Jornada Del Muerto, New Mexico,” 1989 and 1993. Chromogenic print (Ilfocolor Deluxe), 17 x 22 and 27¾ x 37 (from “Nuclear Enchantment”)

The family of Patrick Ryoichi Nagatani (Aug. 19, 1945 – Oct. 27, 2017) submitted the following:


Patrick Ryoichi Nagatani was the eldest son of John Shuzo Nagatani and Diane Yoshiye Nagatani. He was a post-war Sansei baby boomer, born in Chicago ten days after the atomic bomb blast in Nagasaki.

Patrick Nagatani

His early childhood was unremarkable until the family returned to California in 1955 and settled in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles. He attended Coliseum Street School, Audubon Junior High School, and Dorsey High School. At an early age, he received local and statewide recognition for his aptitude in mechanical drafting engineering. At Dorsey, he was a class officer and honor student, and ran the hurdles on the track and field team. He played in the neighborhood CYC sports program for the Red Sox and the Hawks.

In college, he found his lifetime passion for education and the arts. He received a B.A. from CSULA and M.F.A. from UCLA. Notable teaching assignments include: Alexander Hamilton High School (LAUSD), Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), and University of New Mexico (Albuquerque). His resume both as an artist and educator is extensive, but is available for viewing at

Patrick’s art has been displayed internationally and documented in numerous publications and films. In his later years, he reconnected with his Japanese American roots and spirituality, which are captured in his works “Japanese-American Concentration Camps,” “Nuclear Enchantment,” “Nagatani-Ryoichi Excavations,” and “Buddhist Tape-estries.”

“Gila River, Butte Camp, Japanese-American Concentration Camp, Arizona, March 25, 1995 / GRB-1-18-11.” Chromogenic print (Kodak Ektacolor Supra II N), 10¼ x 12 ¾ (from “Japanese-American C.C.”)

His book, “The Race,” was printed and published a few weeks before his passing. A documentary about his journey as photographic innovator, storyteller and artist — “Living in the Story” — will be shown in 2018.

Patrick passed at home in Albuquerque surrounded by family, most notably his wife and son. He is survived by Leigh Anne Langwell (wife); Methuen Nagatani (son); Hannah Moorhead (daughter-in-law); Nick Nagatani (brother) and Wendy Nagatani (sister-in-law); and Scott Nagatani (brother).

Per his wishes, he did not want a public service but requested a small family gathering followed by a Chinese meal. When asked if there was a final message to convey at this gathering, he said, “Compassion.”

“Portraits of Ryoichi Yoshimura and Ryoichi,” 1999. Two gelatin silver prints mounted on black museum board (from “Nagatani-Ryoichi Excavations”)

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