Newsletter 46 Supplement - Picturing China

Historical views and histories of viewing

Oliver Moore

Created by Chinese and British photographers, many photographs that the Historical Photographs of China project safeguards exemplify an extraordinarily confident handling of the camera as an implement of historical record. Both professional and amateur images, usually motivated to some extent by the ideological concerns of institutions that employed the individuals who made them, these photographs include views of commercial endeavour, industrial progress, philanthropic enterprise, political ceremonies, diplomatic junctures, tourist views, street assemblies and battles, not to mention some symbolic bonfires (of opium; of Japanese goods). Most images date to the period between 1900 and 1940.

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