|UFDC Home||myUFDC Home | Help|
This item has the following downloads:
1 EARLY CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHERS FR OM 1840 TO 1870: INNOVATION AND ADAPTATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHY By SHI CHEN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Shi Chen
3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and forem ost, I would like to thank my parents for their unc onditional love and support. I would like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Guolong Lai for his incredibly insightful and patient guidance from the conception to the very gradual completion of what began as a seemingly endless thesis project. I would also like to thank my committee member, Dr. Glenn Willumson for his great interest and support from th e selection of my thes is project to the end product. I would like to thank Ms. Dixie Neils on and Dr. Amy Vigilante for the warmness they gave me over the past three years. Additionall y, I owe my countless thanks to the following individuals, without whom this project would not have been possi ble: Dr. Frances Terpak, Beth Guynn, John Kiffe, and Teresa Mesquit at the Getty Research Institute; Dr Raymond Lum at the Harvard East Asian Yanching Library; Dr. Phil lip Prodger at the Peabody Essex Museum; and Claartje van Dijk at the International Center of Photography. Finall y, I want to thank my friends, especially Zhenning Zhang, Lingling Xiang, Litao Lu, Zhen Liu, Ruth Sheng, Yue Zhang, Ruixin Jiang, Elizabeth Coker, Claudia Cerv antes, Chole Smith, Sarah Mullersman, Oaklianna Brown and Dushanthi Jayawardena for helping me maintain both my sanity and sense of humor over the course of the last three years. Last but not the least, I also must thank (and apologize too) whose name has been forgotten here.
4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 3 LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................................5 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............6 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION: THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHY ....... 8 2 THE ADVENT OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN CHINA IN THE 1840S AND 1850S ................. 10 Photography in China Introduced from the West ................................................................... 10 Photography Experiments by Chinese Practitioners ............................................................... 13 Luo Yili (1802-1852) .........................................................................................13 Zou Boqi (1819-1869) ........................................................................................15 The Influences of Early Chinese Phot ographers on the Later Developm ent .......................... 22 3 LAI AFONG AND CHINESE PHOTOGR APHY IN THE 1 860S AND 1870S .................. 24 Photography in China from the 1850s to the End of the 19th Century ..................................24 Lai Afong and His Photographic Studio ................................................................................. 25 4 CONCLUSION: THE ROLE OF CHINES E PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY I N CHINA ....................................................................... 40 LIST OF REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................46 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................52
5 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Self-portrait of Luo Yili, c.1850, Chinese Photographers Association ............................ 14 2-2 Sketch of Sheying Qi (A pparatus of Capturing Im ages) based on Zou Boqis description (Li 1977, 311).................................................................................................. 18 2-3 Self-portrait of Zou Boqi, c.1860s, China Photography Museum ..................................... 20 3-1 Portrait and autograph of Lai Afong, c .1870. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh ..................................................................................................................... ......25 3-2 Afongs advertisement in The Daily Advertiser (Hong Kong, Oct.2, 1871) .....................29 3-3 Joss House, Hong Kong, Attributed to Lai Afong, c.1860s, Phillips Library ................... 30 3-4 Commercial Street, Guangzhou, La i Afong, c.1860s, Phillips Library ............................. 32 3-5 Physic Street, Guangzhou, John Thomson, c.1860s, Ca mbridge University Library ....... 33 3-6 Treasury Street, Guangzhou, Felice Beato, April 1860. Santa Barbara Museum of Art (Harris 1999) ......................................................................................................................33 3-7 The Barber and Client, Lai Afong, c.1860s, the Getty Research Institute. ....................... 34 3-8 Itinerant barbers, John Thomson, c. 1868-1872, collection of Clark W orswick ............... 35 3-9 Itinerant barber, Paul Champion, 186 5-1866, the Metropolitan Museum of Art .............. 36 3-10 The Grand Stand Foochow, Lai Afong, date unknown, the Metropolitan Museum of art ...................................................................................................................................38
6 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts EARLY CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHE RS FROM 1840 TO 1870: INNOVATION AND ADAPTATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHY By Shi Chen August 2009 Chair: Guolong Lai Major: Museology It is widely assumed in scholarly literature that photography was introduced into China in the 19th century, but our current understandi ng of how, when, and why photography was introduced is still hazy. In this study I w ill analyze the early de velopment of Chinese photography by examining three primary Chinese photographers from the 1840s to 1870s: Luo Yili (1802-1852), Zou Boqi (1819-1869), a nd Lai Afong (1839-c.1890), whose personal trajectories delineated the early history of Chinese photography. Luo Yili and Zou Boqi were the earliest phot ographers in China in the 1840s and 1850s. Their self-made camera, photographs and scientific writings de monstrate how photography is not a purely western-introduced technology. However, they didnt have the chance to disseminate it due to their technical limitation, social im mobility and common prejudice against photography. Since the 1860s, Lai Afong emerged when western-introduced photography in China had overcome initial technical difficulties and b ecame popular in the western community. As the most significant Chinese photographer, Lai Af ong left us abundant works of art. Afongs selection of subject matter and artistic style parallelled his western contemporaries, which,
7 combined with his great marketing skills, lead to his success, and it composes an important part of Chinese photography in the 1860s and 1870s. In the last chapter, I explore the early history of Chinese pho tography and the influences of those Chinese photographers. The first Chines e manual of photography published in 1873 was embedded with the assumption th at photography was a purely west ern invention and stated the common Chinese prejudice agains t it. In popular media in the 1870s such as the leading Shanghai newspaper Shenbao the introductory articles on photography and Chinese photographic studios advertisements imply the same assumption. Photography was still largely perceived as a western technology by the 1870s and the knowledge and demand of photography by Chinese people was still limited. Therefore, it is not surprising that Lai Afong gained his success mainly in western community residing in China or traveled to China. However, on the other hand, Lai Afong also earned a place for Chin ese photographers in the early stage of photography in China.
8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: THE EARLY DEVELO PMENT OF CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHY The birth of photography has a long period of pregnancy, if we see the announcement of the invention of daguerreotype in Paris in 1839 as its birth. From a purely technical point of view, photography is the fruit of a long process that ha d originated much earlier than its birth. There are two primary components in the developmen t of photography, capturing images (camera) and fixing images (chemistry). The camera was understood long before photography was discovered, served as a drawing apparatus since the 16th century. The chemical aspect of photography had been studied since the 18th century. By 1837, the French man Louis-Jacques-Mand Daguerre was able to fix images on a silver-covered c opper plate, allowing images to be reproduced mechanically without any manual intervention. (Bajac 2002) Over the next half century, photography in th e west developed rapi dly, progressing from a cottage industry to a semi-industrialized busin ess, with the phenomena l growth of portrait studios marking the mediums popular succe ss. (Bajac 2002, 162) With new methods of printing and distribution, photographic images became multiplied and were soon spread around the world. The basic outlines of photographys pract ical uses and social meanings also emerged with its popularization. (Marien 2002) Photography became a medium for artistic practice and documentation such as topographical surveys, scientific investiga tions, and reporting. While our current understanding of early pho tography development has been Europeancentered, what was happening in China is still ha zy. As the earliest photographs in China were mostly left by westerners who traveled to Ch ina, it is widely assumed that photography was introduced from the west. Until the 1870s, the history of photography in China was largely a narrative of photographic operations by European photographers who settled on the China coast. (Worswick 2008)
9 On the other hand, traces of ear ly Chinese photographers as elusive as they might have been make us wonder about the other side of the story. Early Chinese p hotographers have been underrepresented, as their works of art are rare in todays photo-collec ting world. Therefore, relatively little is known about th e early history of Chinese photography, yet a series of questions can be raised: What was their contribution, if at all, to the developmen t of Chinese photography? Is photography a completely western-introduced t echnology? If not, how did it start in China and what was its relationship with western phot ography? How did early Chinese photographers develop this new technology? Ho w did those Chinese photographers compare to their western counterparts in terms of their photographic and commercial skills? To answer those questions, in this paper I intend to investigate three early important Chinese photographers to reconstruct their pe rsonal trajectories, and to evaluate their contributions to the early development of Chinese photography. By examining their photographic works, writings, and other releva nt documents, such as news reports and advertisements, I hope to shed light on those above mentioned questions.
10 CHAPTER 2 THE ADVENT OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN CHINA IN THE 1840S AND 1850S Photography in China Introduced from the West Scattered evidence suggests the advent of photography in China introduced from the west during the 1840s and 1850s. It could either have been brought to China by westerners, as the case of French Daguerreotypist Ju les Itier and subsequent wester n photographers; or it could have been adopted by Chinese people who were exposed to photography while traveling abroad, as the case of Lin Zhen (1824-?) and Luo Sen (dates not known). What is commonly viewed as the earliest re corded introduction of photography in China appeared in Qing government s diplomatic activities1. Jules Itier (1802-77), a French custom inspector, was sent in 1844 as a member of the delegation to negotiate a commercial treaty between France and China, known as the Treaty of Whampoa (Oct.24, 1844). In China, Itier took some 37 daguerreotypes of Chinese people and scenery in Aomen and Guangzhou. He also took portraits of Qi Ying (1790-1858), the Manchu statesma n who concluded the Treaty of Huangpu. He recorded those daguerreotypes in his published Journal dun voyage en Chine en 1843, 1844, 1845 et 1848. (Cody and Terpak 2009, 2; Wu 2006, 26) Throughout his journal Itier recorded the astonishment of many Chinese when they saw their portraits taken with a daguerreotype camera. These photos are now held by the Musee Francais de la Photographie in Paris. Itier's daguerreotypes are the earliest preserved photographs of China. (Chen, Hu, Ma, Qian, & Peng 1990; Bennett 2008) 1 In terms of the earliest recorded reference to photography in China, Cody and Terpak (2009), Wu (2006), Chen et al (1990) all agreed on the case of Ju les Itier. However, Terry Bennett (2008) cited the Journal of Harry Parkes on July 16th, 1842, which recorded photograph taken on the banks of Yangzi River, upon which the British Expeditionary Force was making its way in order to obtain a treaty at Nanjing. Even if the daguerreotypes were successful, no trace of them appears in the British fore ign office archives. This will need to be verified.
11 Other than traveling photogr aphers such as Jules Itier, there were commercial photographers who emerged shortly after the ap pearance of photography in China. The first evidence was the commercial daguerreotype activiti es advertised by short-lived studios in the middle 1840s in Hong Kong. In the Hong Kong local English-language newspaper, the China Mail, a foreigner referred himself as Mr. West opened a daguerreotype studio in Sydenham Terrace near the Queens road on March 13th, 1845. The advertisement of this photographic service stated the business was mainly for por trait photograph, and the studio opened from 10am to 4pm each day. However, Mr. West was no longer active after April 10, 1845 as no advertisement on the newspaper was found after that. (Lai 2001; Bennett 2008) In the following year, other advertisements of photographic services co ntinued to show up: On October 8, 1846, an advertisement appeared in the China Mail, stating Daguerreotype and Lithographic printing establishment, Wellington Terrace. Colored or outline views made of Hong Kong or China Scenery... Daguerreotype Ro om open from 9am to 3pm. (Worswick 2008) Since the advertisement was in English, it was pr obably targeting western audience. Two months later, another advertisement appeared in the China Mail announcing that one man named Hugh Mckay had taken over both the daguerreotype and printing (lithographic) establishments. For the following two years of 1847 and 1848, Mckay, a na tive of Edinburg became the first known commercial photographer of the Ch ina coast. In 1849 he disapp eared from China. (Lai 1997; Worswick 2008; Bennett 2008) During March and April of 1852, a photographe r Herman Husband advertised in The Friend of China and Hong Kong Gazette another English-language newspaper published in Hong Kong. (Lai 1997) Other th an Mr. Husband, between 1848 and 1858, there is scattered
12 evidence indicating that there were a limited num ber of photographers working briefly in Hong Kong in the 1850s, among whom non e of them were Chinese. On the other side, during 1840s and 1850s, Chin ese people who traveled abroad recorded and learned photography. Their trace s were left in primarily Chin ese traveling literatures. Lin Zhen (1824-?), who was a native of Xiamen was invited to the United States in 1847 for lecturing. He showed intere st in photography and learned it. (Chen et al 1990) In his writing Xihai jiyou cao (Notes of Traveling to the West), he wrote, Images of mountains, rivers and people can be captured once we poi nt them toward the mirror (the magic mirror with chemicals can bor row sunlight to light on flowers, birds and people, and capture images within a moment. I have learned how to do it) )2. As one of the earliest accounts of camera by Chinese people, Shenjing was used to refer to it. Literally translated as magic mirror, it shows the ast onishment of Lin Zhen when he discovered this technology. Luo Sen a native of Guangzhou, was an a ssistant to American photographer Eliphalet Brown Jr., who was accompanying Commodore Perry on the historic American mission to Japan in 1853-54. Before they took the journey to Japan they stopped at the coastal area in China, probably Aomen and Hong Kong. In Hong Kong Mr Brown took Luo Sen as his assistant. (Chen et al 1990) L uo Sen wrote journals of his trav el upon his return and published them in Chinese journal Xiaer guanzhen (Chinese Serial) in Hong Kong in May 1854. 2 It was written in 1849. The quote captured here was taken from a reprinted book in 1985. See the books detail in List of References.
13 He recorded that the camera was one of the gi fts that the Americans offered to Japanese and what the camera was like: The camera points to the sun and forms the im age. We don't need any pen, and the image is permanent 3. Another word, riyingxiang (sun shade image) was used to refer to the camera, which indicates the principle/pr ocess of the equipmen t. Although Luo Sen was the assistant to the American photographer, in his writing there is no evidence showing that he was capable of operating camera by his own. Other than the trace of thei r recordings, neither Lin Zhen nor Luo Sen left us actual evidence of their photographs or photographic equipments. As the earliest reference to camera by Chinese people, it reveals their understanding of photography. Shenjing indicates the mystery of photography to Lin Zhen, and riyingxiang implies how Luo Sen understood the elements of camera and the importance of light in taking pho tographs. However, either Shenjing or Riyingxiang were not seen again in later literatures. Photography Experiments by Chinese Practitioners In villages of Guangdong province in China, there is evidence of the advent of photography, which didnt follow we stern introduction but seem ed to have created on its own. Luo Yili (1802-1852) Luo was born in Xinhui County of Guangdong Province, about 90 m iles south of Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong. Although not much has been discovered about him, what captures our attention is the photographic self-portrait th at he made, which, based on his 3 It was written in 1857. The quote captured here was taken from a reprinted book in 1983. See the books detail in List of References.
14 life date which ends in 1852, must have been one of the earliest surv iving photograph by Chinese photographers. Figure 2-1. Self-portrait of Luo Yili, c.1850, Chinese Photographers Association This photo was collected and housed by the Ch inese Photographers Association. (Chen et al 1990) The poor visibility might be either a reflection of the quality itself as it was produced, or a result of its deterioration over 150 years. In this photo Luo folds his right leg and places it on the chair. He sits with his right hand on the right ankle, seemingly graspi ng it or just wrapping his fingers around it. It seems that he might ha ve bare arms, which is quite unique and never found in other portraits. The end table, tea bowl a nd vase of flowers in the right side of the picture are consistent with portrait st yle of Chinese people in later period. The early date of his photographi c self-portrait is ve ry noticeable. It was speculated that he used the ambrotype process to take this photograph. (Chen et al 1990) Since the ambrotype was not invented in the west until 1851, just one year before he died, it is almost impossible for Luo to have learned it from the west. Therefore, he could have created it on his own. (Baldwin 1991)
15 Another portrait photograph of a Cantonese ol d woman was also collected and housed by the Chinese Photographers Association, which remains to be explored. (Chen et al 1990) Zou Boqi (1819-1869) Zou Boqi was born in N anhai County of Guangdong Province, about 30 miles west of Guangzhou. He left behind him not only a se lf-portrait and camera equipments, but also essays that demonstrate his theoretical bases, making him by far the most distinguished Chinese practitioner of photography in the 1850s, as Oliv er Moore commented, a cardinal figure in the earliest Chinese history of photography.(2008, 34) During the 1840s and 1850s, Zou completed tw o important essays on the practice of photography: Sheying Zhiqiji (Notes on a Mechanism for Capturing Images) and Gushu bu (Science Updates). Notes on a Mechan ism is an account of the optical principles of photography. In this essay, what he describes as Sheying zhiqi (the apparatus of capturing the image) is a camera obs cura, an ancestor of the modern camera. He begins by describing the enclosed chamber : There is a dark chamber with a small hole in it s front wall. If given the light, then all the objects outside the chamber are reflected reve rsely on the back wall of the chamber. The ones in the esst are seen in th e west, and those below are refl ected above. If we install the semi-flat lens in the hole, and place a white sheet [on the back wall] then we get lively images. The distance between the sheet and the lens depends on the thickness of the lens. For example, if the sheet gets burned when the distance is one Chi 4 when the lens faces the sun, then the sheet will be the brightest just less than one Chi; the further, the darker. If we draw an im age [from the scene being reflected], it will be as good as if we were looking at the scene upfront. If we make some changes, we use a wooden dark chamber, put the white sheet or white glass in the bac k, and punch a hole in the front a nd put the lens in it; we can 4 Chi is a traditional unit of length measurement in China, 1 Chi = 34.5cm.
16 move the lens back and forth, and we open a hol e in the back to look into it. We call it the Apparatus of capturing the image (1873) 5 He then explains how the heights/length/wid th of objects and distan ces between elements are proportionate and how it can be used to calc ulate the size of actual objects without having to measure those head to toe. Follo wing its use in surveying, he in troduces using this device to convert a view from three dimensions to two dimensions, thus facilitating the drawing of it, and he points out how several two-dimensional drawings can be put together to reconstruct a threedimensional scene. He also mentions that it can be used to measure the degree and angle of the movement of the moon and stars at night. The ab ove content composes the first part of this essay. In the second part, he refers to several cl assic Chinese literatures, which record the phenomenon of images showing through a hole in a dark room. Those literatures include Mengxi Bitan (Brush Talks from a Dr eam Brook), by scientist and statesman Shen Kuo (1031-1095) by 1088 during the Song Dynasty. Laoxuean Biji (Notes in Old Study Room ), by poet Lu You (1125-1210) in the Song Dynasty. Chuo Geng Lu (Notes after Quitting Farming), by historian and litterateur Tao Zongyi (1321-1407) at the end of the Yuan Dynasty. 5 The essay was written during 1840s and 1850s, but was published in 1873.
17 Zou states that the purpose is to show those writings didnt make th ings up and he is proud to prove it. He then records th at in the year of 1844 he sudde nly figured out how the Sheying zhiqi (the apparatus of capturing images) works and extended its use to surveying and measuring. In the third and last part of this essay, he reit erates in detailed steps as to how this device can be made and applied to uses above. The fo llowing is the translation of the last part: I tried to use the method of drawing maps to make the apparatus of capturing images. We use a wooden chamber, drill a hole in the front and put the lens in there, put a piece of white clean paper in the chamber and the door is in the back. We put what we want to draw in front of the chamber, use black cloth to cover the back, and open the door to watch it, and we can see the object clearly on the paper, quite accurate in its shape and color. If we use color brush pen to draw, then we get a la ndscape painting. If we move to another place and paint another picture, and compare those tw o for the differences ([smaller print in the original] calculate by the distances between t hose objects and the center of the lens), and we can get the distances of those objects. We can also draw images, which are all originated from this use. The use [of apparatus of capturing images] is infinite, which is wonderful [ ] (published in 1873). In this essay, Zou is perhaps the firs t Chinese to use the expression sheying (capturing images), which has been commonly adopt ed later to refer to photography in Chinese for all kinds of photographyplate, film, and di gital. (Moore 2008) Its original meaning, as we can see from the essay, doesnt really refer to what we mean by photography today, which includes both capturing and fixing images.
18 Figure 2-2. Sketch of Sheying Qi (Apparatus of Capturing Im ages) based on Zou Boqis description (Li 1977, 311) The other of his essays, Science Updates summarizes ancient Chinese principles of optics. It reviews the considerable Chin ese literature on lenses, and e xplains methods for constructing telescopes and microscopes. It also sets out th e theoretical principles for constructing camera lenses such as formulas re lating to operating lenses. As is commonly known, there are two technologi cal bases to create a photographic image: the reception of the image using the box camera (or plate camera) and the chemical process to fix the image on a medium. Zous essays are a perf ect proof of the first half. The box cameras logical antecedent was the camera obscura, the sa me device Zou studied and demonstrated in the essay. Although it is generally assumed that this was a purely European device that had entertained its users, guided scie ntific and artistic obser vation, and helped to conceptualize ways of seeing in Europe since the Renaissance, bot h essays which involve previous writings in Chinese history and Zous own practice proved th at it possesses a Chinese history as well. (Moore 2008) The Chinese classic Mengxi Bitan (Brush Talks from a Dream Brook) was referred to as origins of his t houghts on optics in both of his e ssays. In Notes on a Mechanism, Zou writes in 1835 he observed the reflection of images and read Mengxi Bitan and kept thinking
19 about it, and then he tested it in a dark room and understood the principle of Camera obscura. In the preface of Science Updates by Chen Li (1810-1882), a reputed Cantonese scholar specialized in a wide range of classic studies such as phonology and ancient science, Mengxi Bitan was referenced again to introduce Yangsui and how it relates to Zo us discovery. The concept of Yangsui, meaning concave brass mirror placed in the sun to generate enough heat to ignite dry grass, was probably related to camera obscura because they both alter the direction of light and focalize. Both Zou and Chen were predom inant pioneers in natural science in the 19th century of China, and they tent to relate west ern-introduced modern science to ancient Chinese knowledge. (Wu 2000) However, the second half, the fixing of im ages on a supporting medium was not touched upon in those two essays, nor does it seem that it occured to Zou to apply the use of the device for capturing a permanent image when he wrote those essays. The contribution of the Apparatus of Sheying, as Zou realized at that time, lie s in surveying, drawing, and astronomy, which is consistent with Zous scientific interest and ach ievement at that time. Some scholars contended that the year of 1844 and the writing of Sheying Zhi Qiji marks the creation of the first camera in China (Ding 2001; Chen 1993); without the proof of fixing the image, it is hard to draw that conclusion. As the best proof of whether Zou developed the chemical si de of photography as well, his self-portrait was retrieved by i nvestigators of Chinese Photographers Association as a glass plate from his property in 1962. The glass plate negative is currently housed in Guangzhou City Museum and was reprinted in th e 1960s and 1970s. (Dai 2000)
20 Figure 2-3. Self-portrait of Zou Boqi, c.1860s, China Photography Museum Not only was his self-portrait le ft behind. In 1962, what was also recovered at his property was photographic implements. (Chen et al 1990 ) Among these were a wooden can containing rectangular wooden plate, and a funnel made of bones, all of which might have been used for evaporating mercury and developing the image. Those devices are now nowhere to be found. (Li and Bai 1984) Also found were wooden tripod a nd four broken glass plates. Ot her than his self-portrait, there are three more, which are said to be gr oup portraits of him and his students or fellow countrymen. (Li and Bai 1984) Unfortunately, th ey were nowhere to be found today. Liang Hengxin, who was a professor in Guangzhou, once saw those photographs and described one of them as another self-portrait of Zou Boqi: The backdrop is the stone steps of an ances tral temple, and Zou s its on a stool, wearing white long gown, and handholding white round fan. Since the edge of the plate is uneven, and the backdrop is different from one of any usual photographic st udio, he probably took
21 them himself by asking someone else to press the camera shutter (as cited in Li and Bai 1984). Liang Hengxin, as previously mentioned who ha d seen the glass plates of Zou, collected unpublished essays written by Zou Boqi from his descendants and published Zou Boqi Sheying Shiliao Chutan (Preliminary Studies on the Historical Documents of Zou Boqis Photography) in 1963 through the Guangzhou Division of Chinese Photography Association. The essay revealed original writin gs by Zou Boqi that help to reconstruct his photographic process. Unfortunately, in 2000 Dai al ready found it untraceable neither is the case when we look for it today. In 1977, Li Di wrote about Zous study on optics, and he also cited Zous writings from Liangs article. Those available segments of Zous writing records step s of taking photographs, including setting up the camera and using chemicals in each step. (Li 1977) It was already greatly advanced from his earlier writing ( Notes on a Mechanism and Science Updates ) to purposely aim at producing a photographic image. On a separate page of his manuscripts Zou ta lked about chemicals and how to make them. Zou recorded multiple chemicals that were used to take photographs, although he didnt write down the specific quantities for each of them, an d he was not quite specific on what functions some of them performed. (Li 1977; Dai 2000) Zou used Latin names for a number of chemicals, which indicates that he might have known them from the west. (Li and Bai 1984) On the other side, he also used locally produced chemicals to complement the western chemicals, and even pointed out where to get thes e locally. (Li 1977; Li and Bai 1984) From the procedure and chemicals, those scholars specula ted that the process he used was wet collodion process. (Li 1977; Dai 2000)
22 Zous geographical proximity to Guangzhou, one of the earliest areas in China to have contact with the west, might have lent him opportunities to be exposed to new thoughts and technologies from the west, even remotely. As sh own in his earlier writings Zous initial attempt to understand and create the optical devices of ca mera was probably aroused due to his interest in astronomy and surveying, however, once he got in spired by western photography he might have related it to the camera obscura he already create d and tried to make modi fications that can be applied to photography, and also re searched on chemicals that can fix the image. Without the full knowledge and required equipment, he made modifications and supplemented by using indigenous ingredients. Based on a poem found by the side of his self -portrait, he should be in his late forties at the time the self-portrait was made, therefore his selfportrait might have been created in the year of 1863-1866. (Li and Bai 1984) If the year 1844 marked his discovery of camera obscura and rising interest in photogra phy later on, it took him almost 20 years to complete the process to create photographic images on his own. The Influences of Early Chinese Photographers on the Later Development The two self -portraits of Luo Yili and Zou Boqi are very scarce evidence of the existence of Chinese photographers in the first two decades of photographic history in China. Because of Zous achievements shown in his writings, photog raphic portraits and equipments, Oliver Moore speaks of Zous achievements as overthrow th e assumptions that photography was imported to China as either a fully perfected technology or an absolute ontological novelty. (2008, 48) Unfortunately, despite the solid and successf ul attempts of photography, neither Luo nor Zou succeeded in passing on the knowledge at their time. Neither Notes on a Mechanism nor Science Updates was published before he passed away. Those writings were originally kept by his family and later organized by other scholars. The final publication was made possible by the sponsorship of Zous students, families and friends. Notes on a Mechanism was published in
23 1873, and Science Updates in 1874. When they finally got pu blished, almost 30 years after he made the camera obscura, there had already been significant developmen t of the technology in terms of new photographic processes and better equipments, which made his discoveries much less remarkable. There are several reasons w hy Luo and Zou never had the chance to lead photographys development in China. The technical limits might have been one reason, as the ambrotype they used created a single, unique image on the plat e, and was not suited to mass-production of images for dissemination. On the other hand, in spite of the amazement many Chinese people had when they firstly learned about photography, there were also misunderstandings such as spiritual disrespect attached to this new medium. The initial Chinese peoples fear and suspic ion toward photography lasted until the camera and the photographs it made became more familiar for them. It is not hard to imagine how many obstacles Luo Yili and Zou Boqi would have encount ered if they had tried to publicize this new technology.
24 CHAPTER 3 LAI AFONG AND CHINESE PHOTOGR APHY IN THE 1 860S AND 1870S Photography in China from the 1850s to the End of the 19th Century World wide, the 1850s m arked the begi nning of photography's commercialization. Continuing technical improvements enabled the inst ant capture of likenesses, as the wet plate process was invented and wide ly adopted, which superseded previous processes like the daguerreotype and made possible the duplicati on of images. Significan t commercial activity became economically viable, allowing the photogra pher to produce multiple copies of views and portraits and make a living by selling them. For China, political changes also facilitated the development of photography. A clause in the postwar treaty, the 1860 Peking Convention, newly granted foreign visitors the right to reside in inland cities beyond the treaty ports and to trav el freely in all parts of China. The opening of China and the war itself provided an attraction to wester n photographers to come to China. To begin with, most of them were visiting phot ographers; by the 1860s, they were commercial photographers who resided in China and ope rated their photographic business. Those photographers brought to China a newly advanced method of visu al representation when the technology itself is ready to sprea d. At that time in spite of the e fforts that practitioners like Zou and Luo made, photography remained largely unknown to the overall Chinese community. Their gradual familiarization with the photographic pr ocess was a result of western photographers practice in China, which also led some local Chinese to try their hands on the camera. In the 1860s Chinese photographic studios star ted to establish thei r businesses and expand. During the 1860s one studio was already well-kn own and productive, which left us interesting materials to look into for this one of th e first Chinese commercial photographers.
25 Lai Afong and His Photographic Studio Lai Afong (1839-c.1890), active 1859 -c.1890, is the most famous and successful Chinese photographer in the 19th century and proprietor of the longest-lived photographic studio in Hong Kong. Afong opened his first studio in Hong Kong in 1859, and it continued long after his death, successfully outlasting all native and Eu ropean competitors to operate well up to the start of World War II1. Figure 3-1. Portrait and autograph of Lai Afong, c.1870. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh 1 See Worswick 1978: the firm of Lai Afong was carried on by his son Yuet Chan (died, March 5, 1937), but was still listed in the 1941 Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan (etc.). It was therefore, by far the longest lived commercial firm in China.
26 Figure 3-1 is the only known se lf-portrait of Afong. He signe d his name in both Chinese characters as Huafang and neat English script as Afong. Huafang, as signed there, is his first name in Chinese; while Afong is how he was widely known in the foreign community of Hong Kong. The Guangzhou Daily reported that the Hong Kong De partment of Leisure and Cultural Services collect ed two of his photographs, also signed Huafang (2008) It is interesting to note that even now numerous Chinese writings refer to him as Afong which is different from his actual Chinese name and is only a literal tr anslation of Afong. While many dealers and collectors have referr ed to him as Lai Afong or Afong Lai, or Ah Fong Lai Ah Fong occasionally, in his busine ss such as newspaper advertisements and photo signatures, the name of Afong is the only one used. (Crow 2004) It might be understood as the name of his business, also how he was widely known at his time2. Among all the middle-late 19th century Chinese photographe rs, Afong is the best known and has been mostly studied. The purpose of our di scussion is not just to synopsize the results of other studies, but rather th rough the study of Afong, to tr y to understand how photography developed in China through Chinese photographers. Afong is one of the few exceptions of Chines e photographers in his time. Other Chinese photographers works have mostly vanishe d, leaving them only known by name from contemporary commercial directories. However, large numbers of Afongs photographs survive today, probably as a result of both his productivity and audiences recognition for his works of art. They have been widely housed in museum s worldwide. They were either purchased by westerners in China and brought back to the west, or later collected by contemporary western 2 For consistence, Lai Afong will be referred to as Afong in following discussion.
27 collectors from various sources. Institutions that house Afongs work are listed below but not limited to: Album: Views of Foochow Scottish National Portrait Galler y, Edinburgh, Scotland (Wue 1997) Hong Kong and Macao: the Typhoon of 22 September 1874, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Library, London, UK (Marien 2002) Hong Kong View of City and Port the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA (site visit) Typhoon of September 22nd-23rd 1874 the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA (site visit) Loose prints: (The numbers of those loose prints are unknown until further exploration of those sites is conducted.) The J Paul. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA (online finding aids) National Galleries of Scotla nd, Edinburgh, Scotland (online) San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (online) Special collections of the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland (online) National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Pl, Parkes ACT 2600, Australia (online) British Library, London, UK (British Library, 2008) Collection of Tsim Bok-Kow, Cartede-visite, location unknown (Wue, 1997) St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (Eskind, 1998) Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA (site visit) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (site visit) It is worth noting that although many photograp hs bear the Afong stamp, the majority of his work was unsigned and has not yet been positively identified. (Crow 2004) Even though, those collections compose by far the largest am ount and most signifi cant photographs by midlate 19th Chinese photogr aphers in the world. Compared with the widely housed collections in cultural instituti ons or individuals overseas, Afongs works are rarely kept in China. There was an exhibit Historical Photographs of China in British Collections 1860-1930 held in the National Library in Beijing in the fall of 2008. About 150 old photographs taken in Hong K ong and Guangzhou were firstly shown in
28 China, a large number of which were taken by Afong. It was the first time for many Chinese people to have the opportunity to look at his wo rks of art and learn about him. Even for the associate director of the Nationa l Library, before the exhibit a ll he knew about Afong was from a pamphlet stored in the National Library which only mentioned his name and stories. (Guangzhou Daily 2008) Afong seemed to have gained his reputati on among western people in China and it was through them that his photographs survived, we re disseminated, and preserved. Compared with practitioners like Zou Boqi and Luo Yili, the story of Afong presents another thread in the development of Chinese photography, which wa s originated from the western context and developed in the western communit y. It is also a much more visible and traceable thread as a result of the commercialization of Afongs photographic practice. During the 1860s and 1870s in Hong Kong, many Chinese photographers were initially export trade painters working in the field of export pa inting in southern China who went to Hong Kong to set up their studio s as the colony emerged as an intern ational trading port in the Far East. (Lai 1997) With the rise of photographic ma rket in Hong Kong, photography became another possible avenue for the production of tourist prod ucts. Those export trade painters might have entered photography in a variety of ways: they could have apprenticed with a foreign photographer as assistants, to ha ve learned it abroad or possi bly through local schools set up by missionaries for Chinese students, where photography and other Western technical skills were taught. Afong might have learned photography through one of the above ways. However, unlike many Chinese photographers, who used the medi um to augment their painting income, Afong probably did camera-work full time. In Figure 3-2 Afongs advertisement, he only identified
29 himself as photographer, whereas other Chinese photographers often advert ised themselves as photographer and painter. (Marien 2002) Figure 3-2. Afongs advertisement in The Daily Advertiser (Hong Kong, Oct.2, 1871) Afong advertised his up-to-date achievement of photography. Figure 3-2 is an example of him marketing his photo albums of Foochow, HongKong, Canton, Swatow and Macao3. Afong traveled around the coastal area of the country to take photographs. He took an extensive series of pictures in the area of Foochow in 1869 and 1870. (National Galleries of Scotland, 2008) He traveled far north as Weihaiwei in Shandong Peni nsula in north China. (Wue 1997) The subject matter of his photographs includes architecture (both European a nd indigenous), town views in and around the treaty ports, social life, and important historical events such as the cyclone which devastated Hong Kong in 18744. While portraiture had dominated Chinese use of photography as other subjects had little interest for Chinese photographe rs and their clientel e in the 1860s and la ter period (Wue 2008), 3 Nowadays cities named Fuzhou, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shantou, and Aomen. 4 View photographs of this event in National Library of China, British Library, 2008. Western Eyes: Historical Photographs of China in British Collections: 1860-1930. Beijing: Guojia Tushu Chubanshe.
30 Afongs photographic interest extended well beyo nd that. His choice of subjects other than portraiture include topographica l views as shown above, and scen es of social life as shown below, two genres typically created for the Western market in China and abroad. Figure 3-3. Joss House, Hong Kong, Attributed to Lai Afong, c.1860s, Phillips Library Figure 3-3 is one of Afongs photographs housed in Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum. Other than the choice of subject matte r, Afong demonstrates his skills in composing and presenting chosen subjects. There are many elements in this photo that can be elaborated in their Chinese context: th e temple with very distinctive ar chitectural style (called Tianhou (or Tin How in Cantonese) in the caption below the photo), its function and meaning for Chinese people; the Chinese characters on board s leaning against the temple wall and their
31 meanings; the fortune teller sitti ng behind the table on the entrance porch, and several groups of other people staring at the camera, evoking viewers curiosity about who they are and what they are doing. This photo was numbered. Along w ith other individual prints w ith the same format in the Peabody Essex Museum, it probably belongs to a series of photographs demonstrating the essence of China in the 19th century. The caption below the image reads: No. 322 JOSS HOUSE This Temple is called by the Chinese Tin How, and is situated in the East portion of the town of Victoria. It is a cool retreat for Beggars and itinerant pie men; a fortune teller has also taken up his quarters beneath the entrance por ch and seated as he is be hind a table on the look-out for the credulous, there will be no difficulty to distinguish him from the other figures. These fortune tellers associate themselves so closely with the manners and customs of the natives that they seem to have the divine at ribute of being everywhe re. Further information respecting them is given in No.86 of our series. The caption elaborates those Chinese elements in a way that extends beyond the image itself and touches upon Chinese culture behind it. It seems to have been written by someone who knew well of Chinese social life, as he/she knew how the temple was called in Cantonese, and seemed to be quite knowledgeable about fortune te llers, a repeated theme in other photos of the series. It was not clear who wrote the caption, bu t Afong, with an insight of the Chinese culture and western interest, probably contributed to the caption in one way or another. He might have put together the photo series of China and worked with someone else to write those captions.
32 Figure 3-4. Commercial St reet, Guangzhou, Lai Afong, c .1860s, Phillips Library Another photo of this series presents a more common subject in Chinese social life as street views. Predominant western photographe rs in Afongs time such as John Thomson and Felice Beato took photographs of the same kind, as shown in Figure 3-5 and 3-6.
33 Figure 3-5. Physic Street, Guangzhou, John Thoms on, c.1860s, Cambridge Un iversity Library Figure 3-6. Treasury Street, Gu angzhou, Felice Beato, April 1860. Santa Barbara Museum of Art (Harris 1999)
34 In the above three photos of Guangzhou street scenes, narrow street s with intensive and concentrated shop signs are featured, showing wh at a bustling business district looks like in China. Those street signs make the street look even narrower, creating an overwhelming sense to grasp ones attention. The caption of Afongs photo reads: No.259 A STREET, CANTON [Guangzhou] The streets in all native cities (except Pekin, the Northern Capital) are identical in their narrowness and gloom; wanting to the eye of a foreigner the day appearance universal in the cities of Europe, their tortuous windings, however, possess the advantage of cutting off the blazing rays of hot sunshine, and a stro ll through would doubtless be enjoyable were it not for the variety of indescribable smells th at rouse the olfactory nerves to antagonism with the will of an explorer. Curio shops abound in these narrow labyrinths, but the prices asked for the wares are generally very exorbitant, and the busi ness in consequence is not expensive. The caption of Afongs street s cene seems to be perfectly applicable to other two photos, which shows how similar their subject matter and approach was in taking those photos. Figure 3-7. The Barber and Client, Lai Af ong, c.1860s, the Getty Research Institute.
35 Figure 3-8. Itinerant barbers, John Thomson, c. 1868-1872, collection of Clark Worswick The photographs of trades and types posse ss both a curiosity and a liveliness which present to the viewer a veritabl e opera of China, and were one of the major subjects for the market. (Worswick 2008) Figure 3-7 and 3-8 were taken respectively by Afong and John Thomson, with almost the same setup and perspectiv e: the client is sitti ng on the left on a bench with almost the same wood-carving pattern, and th e barber is standing an d shaving his forehead. The client is holding probably a plate to catch the falling hair. Also similar is the tool kit of the barber on the right with broadbrimmed straw hats. The backdrops of both photos are minimized, and it was probably done on purpose by staging the scene in the studio, in order to make the barber, client, and thei r apparatus stand out. Figure 3-9, however, provides anot her approach to take photogr aphs of the same subject matter. The photographer, Paul Champion was a French amateur photographer, who visited China in 1865-1866, almost the same time period when Afong and John Thomsons photos were taken. Champion put together a fine portfolio of Shanghai and Beijing.
36 Figure 3-9. Itinerant barber, Paul Champi on, 1865-1866, the Metropolita n Museum of Art Showing also itinerant barb er, Champions photo shows a di fferent setup: it was taken outside in a real street scene, therefore the lighting is natu ral, and the background has more elements such as walls and houses. Because the ba rber and client take a smaller portion of the picture compared with Afong or Thomsons phot o, Champion might have taken the photo from a longer distance, trying to be less interrupting as he was probably taking photographs of the real scene. Consequently, we cant see the barbers hands very clear ly, and details of his operation and equipment are less shown. The client is not holding anything to catch the falling hair, which was probably the case when the haircutting took place in the street, and make them look more casual and real. Comparing with both Thomson a nd Champions photo, there is a clear tendency of Afong who chose Thomsons approach to take photos, probably for commercial and professional purposes. The consistency of Afongs work with its counterparts by professional western photographers is not just a result of his technological and artistic competence, but also his awareness of achieving them by learning from foreign colleagues. John Thomson, the most well-
37 known western photographer of that period, operated his studio in th e same district (on Queens Road) in Hong Kong as Afong, and they seemed to maintain a good relationship with each other. Afongs work must have been of sufficient standard to earn the atten tion and praise of John Thomson, as Thomson remarked in 1872, There is one China-man in Hong Kong, of the na me of Afong, who has exquisite taste, and produces work that would enable him to make a living even in London Retracing our steps up Queens Road we pause beneath a di splay of signboards, each one glowing in bold Roman characters the first we come to is that Afong, photographer Afong keeps a Portuguese assistant to wait upon Europeans [Afong is] a man of cultivated taste, and imbued with a wonderful appreciation of art. Judging from the portfolios of photographs, he must be an ardent admirer of the beautiful in nature, for some of his pictures, besides being extremely well executed, are remarkable for their artistic choice of position The comment that Afong can make a living even in London shows how much Afong is acknowledged by Thomson. Afongs exquisite, or cu ltivated taste, is probably the result of the combination of his choice of subject ma tter and the style of his photos, which is indistinguishable from his professional western contemporaries and certainly meets their standards. In addition to Afongs photographic talent, Afong s excellent business sk ills also lead up to his success. Afong aimed at the western mark et in China to promote his business. As John Thomson mentioned, Afong hired a Portuguese assistant to do busin ess with the Europeans, so that he could develop sales with the European community. Other than the Portuguese assistant, there were at least two more foreign photographers who worked for Afong at that time, Emil Rusfeldt and D.K. Griffith. Rusfeldt was in Afongs Studio from October 1871 to around March 1872. He then opened his own establishment, the Hong Kong Photographic Rooms in April 1872. Griffith started his servic e with Afong in July 1878, and he opened his own photographic studio in May 1884. (Lai 2001) Afong was so involved in the community of western
38 photographers that not only was he on good terms with some of them, his studio also became a base to hire and trai n western photographers. Figure 3-10. The Grand Stand Foochow, La i Afong, date unknown, the Metropolitan Museum of art As a Chinese photographer, Afong was trusted by foreigners to take photographs for them. Figure 3-10 shows an example. Afon g signed his name in the lower left corner of the photo. The occasion of the assembly is unknown. There were around 40 foreigners in this photo and only a few Chinese people. It is somewhat hard to imagine how one Chinese photographer standing behind the camera and coordinating all thes e foreigners to take this group photo. Afongs prestige was increased by photographing H.E. Sir Ar thur Kennedy, Governor of Hong Kong and H.I.H., the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, as he was prompt to mention in his advertising. (Crow 2004; Bennett 2008)
39 Afongs full dedication to photography, active marketing strategies, good relationship with western photographers and clients, and aesthetic quality which contains both Chinese elements and western tastes all co ntributed to his success. In the mean time, he showed us how in the 1860s and 1870s the practice of Chinese photog raphy directly followed the expansion of Western interests. Not only di d Afong learn the technology from the westerners, he made his living and gained reputation through foreigne rs including foreign re sidents in Hong Kong, traveling businessmen, tourists, and viewers in Europe and America.
40 CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSION: THE ROLE OF CHINESE P HOTOGR APHERS IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN CHINA As Terry Bennett remarked, it is worth making the point that, in reality, relatively little is yet known about the history of Chinese photogr aphy, and the work of the key western and Chinese photographers has yet to be properly researched and chroni cled (295), it is not easy to trace Chinese photographers in the early de velopment of Chinese photography. Photographic evidence has to be combined with documents such as personal writings, news reports and advertisements to reveal even a slice of their hi story. Because of the difficu lty of piecing together evidence, Chinese photographers were underrepresented for a long time. Capa argued in 1972, it is the western travelers who went to China and brought photography there that made the sole contribution to it, as he states Photography and travel have been associated since the earliest mome nts of the medium in the 1840s. It is only by keeping this fact in mi nd that words about China and the history of photography make any sense at all, for the Chinese produced no pioneers in the medium nor did they contribute to the a dvancement of its technology (78). As materials were gradually revealed, more recent studi es by scholars like Clark Worswick, John Falconer, Nick Pearce, and Terry Bennett acknowledge Chinese photographers, particularly after the 1870s when they outnum bered Western photographe rs and took over this branch of work by the end of the 19th century. However, prior to this period when phot ography was still in its embryonic stage for Chinese photographers, not much has been revealed about how they emerged from scratch to thriving. During this period, most Chinese photographers were only known by name as their works of art have been missing. For their extant photographs, they are considered to have followed European styles of work, and a distin ctively Chinese style only emerged in the early twentieth century. (Falconer 2002)
41 By looking at the achievement of the earliest Chinese practitioners such as Zou Boqi and Luo Yili, it is not exaggerating to suggest th at photography is not a purely foreign-invented technology, and that China possesses the creation of photography of its own. Zou Boqis essays not only record part, if not all, of his camera invention, but also relate his discovery to the historical development of the study of optics in ancient China with intrinsic historical insight. His chemical process, if verified, replaced some of the western ingredients by local substances, which demonstrates the uniquene ss of his creation. Their two se lf-portraits prove the early existence of photography by Chinese practitioners. Nevertheless, their influence on early Chin ese photography was limited. When Zous essay finally got published in 1873, we stern photography with new photogr aphic processes and better equipments had already penetrated into China, and Chinese photographers such as Afong learned this technology from an already comme rcialized and popularized market. The difficulties of passing along the knowledge partly lie in the common misunderstanding of photography among Chinese society. Even in the later years after western photography has entered China, we still find accounts as below by the Shanghai commercial photographers D.K. Griffiths (who later worked for Af ong in 1878-1884) in the London-based Photographic News in 1875: The native artist has little suppor t from his countrymen, and fo r the cause none are to be found away from the fore ign settlements [Hong Kong and Shanghai]. Some few enterprising Cantonese have tr ied to push business in a few of the large towns in the interior, but were obliged to withdraw, from the hostility of the natives...in the case of a china-man he would have fared much worse [writers italics]... This unfortunate hostility to photographic manipulation is due to a strange belief... the photographic image is the soul of the original, the withdrawal of which from the body very naturally produces death. This tragic end may not take place for a month or mo re, but I have heard two years given as the longest time a photographic victim can e xhibit (as cited in Worswick 2008).
42 As a matter of fact, because their findings were so limitedly spread, up until 1870s, photography was still commonly viewed as a purely western-introduced technology. The preface of Geshu Bu was written by Chen Li (1810-1882)1. He particularly pointed out that Thanks to this book [ Geshu bu], what once was lost by ancient scientists [the use of lenses] was again revealed to the world. On the othe r side, we now know that the principle of making lenses by westerners was actually pos sessed by our ancient scientists. It is a wonderful science book of today (1874) Chen argued against the commonly accepted concep t that the principle of making lenses, as one of the important components to photography, was brought to China by westerners. Moreover, as will be shown below, there was more to just the optic aspect that were considered to be invented by the west. In 1873, the first Chinese manual focusing exclusively and well-roundly on photography, Tuoying Qiguan (Extraordinary Sights of Phot ography) was completed by a British Doctor residing in Beijing, Dr. John Dudgeon2. It was published in the same year in traditional Chinese book format using woodblocks for both te xt and illustrations and bound in soft paper covers. Wanyan Chonghou an official at the Office of Foreign Affairs, wrote the preface and pointed out that the book reveals the secrets [of photography] that have lasted decades. Wanyan Chonghou represented the group of well educated Chinese people in higher social rank, who recognized the importance of photography and eager to help with its 1 Chen Li (1810-1882), a well-established Cantonese scholar. He had profound knowledge and extensive learning in mathematics, astronomy, sutra study, history, music rhythm, phonology, ancient Chinese prose, and calligraphy. 2 Dr. Dudgeon was a British physician who came to China in 1862 and spent nearly 40 years in China until his death in 1901.
43 distribution, but even people like him had no knowledge of previous existence of similar technology created by Chinese people themselves. In Dr. Dudgeons own introduction, he stated th at one of the purposes of writing the book was to help people learn photography and to ar gue against people who presumptuously defame it [photography], and assert that it is either the water of eyes or the blood of human heart. There was still the common superstitious fear toward camera even in 1870s, several decades after the medium was introduced. Dr Dudgeons introduction was also published in Zhongxi Wenjian Lu (Peking Magazine) in 1872 (March, No.9), a monthly journal by missionaries for the purpose of disseminating modern western science and technology. It was noted in the journal that the books are being printed and will be published soon. Along with other introduced western technology in the journal such as western medi cine and mathematics, photography was clearly viewed as one of them, waiting to be distributed by western missionaries. In 1876, Shenbao (the Shanghai Newspaper) pub lished an article Photography introduction to the workings of the new technol ogy. It starts with the statement that Photography was invented by the west and was not found in China before. The portraits it takes are quite like real, showing peoples expr essions and only the difference as little as a hair might be caught. It is magical Then it introduced basic step s of taking photographs, followed by retracing its origins in France and recent development a nd application in printing. In 1876, the well known photographer Liang Shitai (a.k.a See Tay) advertised his studio in Shenbao (Shanghai Newspaper) by announcing that he learned photography
44 from the westerners secretly. Advertising for its exclusiveness by declaring its western origin might serve as a selling point, and the word secretly emphasizes the exclusiveness of the technology. It also facilitated th e common view that photography was introduced by the west. As Oliver Moore points out, adver tisement readers none of whom had heard of Zou Boqi were eagerly convinced that photographi c practice was Western, and early advertisement strengthened this prejudice. (2007, 6) When Zou Boqi was working on his experime nts to make photographic images on his own around 1860, Afong started his business in Hong Kong. As the only one of its kind that distinguished himself as a well-established Chin ese photographer, Afong left us not only rich collections of his work, but also the story of how photography was disseminated as a new medium by Chinese people at the beginning of the popularization of Chinese photographic studios. With the effort of Afong a nd those later Chinese photographe rs, ever since the 1860s, the narrative of photography in China shifts from the domination of pioneer Europeans to a history of commercial Chinese photographers. Chinese photographers operated studios alongside those western photographers in citi es like Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing. In Hong Kong, the first center of photography in Chin a, the acclaimed Scottish photographer John Thomson stated in 1872, It may not be generally known that the Ch inese in Hong-kong and other parts of China have taken kindly to have photography... In Queens-road, the pr incipal street of Victoria, there are a score of Chinese photographers, w ho do better work that is produced by the herd of obscura dabblers who cast discredi t on the art in this country. (1872, 569) Thomsons statement indicated the number of Chinese photographers who had opened business in Hong Kong and started to take over photographic market, and this trend seemed to
45 continue. In February 1884, Baron Stillfried, an Austrian photographer, reported in Londons Photographic News After the late war of England and France with China had terminated, several professional photographers settled in the cele stial empire and took native a ssistants; but ultimately the assistants commenced on their own account, and at the present time it is probable that there are several thousand Chinese w ho make a living by photography.(1884) Despite of the accuracy of Stillf rieds count of Chinese photographers, he must have seen competition in every corner of the dark room to have felt this way. The limited influence by Zou Boqi and Luo Yili suggested that the dissemination of photography in China had to rely not just on the technology itself, but ultimately on a society that was ready and in need. Because of the limited knowledge and demand for photography among Chinese, up till the 1870s the photog raphic market in China was mainly targeted to foreigners, and the advertisement of Chinese photographic es tablishments didnt appe ar in Chinese-language newspapers until the 1890s in Hong Kong (Lai 2001) when some wealthy Chinese went to the studios to have their portraits made. (Lam 1982) Without the western community expanding in China after the two opium wars, there wouldnt have been such a photographic market in the western community in China. Afong sensed the opportunity and grasped it very well. It was the western client ele he relied on in the early period of his business that essentially maintained his establishments and enabled him to leave such amount of photographs. Therefore, only by maximizing the western market of photography in learning, producing and selling photographs coul d people like Afong earn a place in the early stage of photography in China. Their simultaneous and different paths present us two threads of the early developm ent of Chinese photography.
46 LIST OF REFERENCES BAJAC, QUENTIN. 2002. The Invention of Photography New York: Harry N. Abrams. BALDWIN, GORDON. 1991. Looking at Photographs: Guide to Technical Terms Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum in association with British Museum Press. BEERS, BURTON F. 1978. China in Old Photographs 1860-1910. New York: Charles Scribers Sons. BENNETT, TERRY. 2008. China. In Encyclopedia of Nineteen-century Photography John Hannavy, 292-95. New York: Ta ylor & Francis Group. 2008. Lai Afong. In Encyclopedia of Ninet een-century Photography. John Hannavy, 815. New York: Taylor & Francis Group. BOERSCHMANN, ERNST. 1982. Old China in Historic Photographs: 288 views New York: Dover Publications. BROWN, ELIPHALET M. JR. 2009. Daguerreotypist and Artist for the Perry Expedition to Japan. Retrieved Jun.15, 2009, from http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/brown.shtml CAMBRIDGE UNIVE RSITY LIBRARY. 2009. Illus trations of China and Its People. Retrieved Oct.30, 2008, from http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/bits tream /1810/1186/1/RCSPC-Y30377G-XX.jpg CAMERON, NIGEL. 1978. The Face of China: as Seen by Photographers and Travelers 1860-1912. New York: Aperture. CAPA, CORNELL, ed. 1972. Behind the Great Walls of China: Photographs from 1870 to the Present. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. CHEN, HONGGUANG. 1993. Zhongguo zi zhi diyibu zhaoxiangji [The first self-made camera in China]. Lingnan wenshi [Lingnan culture and history] 1:49. CHEN, SHEN, ZHICHUAN HU, YUNZENG MA, ZHANGBIAO QIAN, and YONGXIANG PENG. 1990. Zhongguo sheying shi 1840-1937 [History of photography in China1840-1937]. Taiwan: Photographer Publications. CHEN, LI. 1874. Ge shu bu yuanxu [Original preface of Ge shu bu]. In Bai fu tang suan xue cong shu [Science series of Baifu Tang]. Ch angsha: Gu he hua jing she. CODY, JEFF & FRANCES TERPAK. 2009. Transferr ing the Image: the Art and Science of Photography in late Qing China. Presented in conference: Photogra phy in China, Apr.2425, 2009, Northwestern University.
47 CROW, DENNIS GEORGE. 2004. Afong and Other Hong Kong Photographers. In Historic Photographs of Hong Kong Featuring Photographs by Afong, E. O. Hoppe, Daisy Wu and Others. Dennis George Crow, 6. Los A ngeles: Dennis George Crow. DAI, NIANZU. 2000. Zou Boqi de sheying d itu he boban sheyingshu [Zou Boqis photographic map and glass plate photographic process]. In Zhongguo keji shiliao [Historical materials of science and technology in China] 21(2): 25-28. DUDGEON, JOHN. 1873. Yuan xu [Original preface]. In Tuoying qiguan [Extraordinary sights of photography]. John Dudgeon. Beijing: Jingdu Shiyiyuan [Imperial Hospital]. 1873. Tuoying Qiguan [Extraordinary sights of photography]. Beijing: Jingdu Shiyiyuan [Imperial Hospital]. DING, MINJING. 2001. Sheying shu de yanjin yu zhaopian de jianding fa [The development of photography and the methodol ogy of photograph au thentification]. Zhongguo bowuguan [Chinese museum], 4:58-68. ESKIND, ANDREW H, ed. 1998. International Photography: Geor ge Eastman House Index to Photographers, Collections, and Exhibitions. New York: G.K. Hall; London: Prentice Hall International. FALCONER, JOHN. 2002. th Century Photographers of China. In Images de la Chine: Photographies 1870-1890 John Falconer, 10-15. Paris: Les Editions Du Pacifique. FRANK, DIKOTTER. 2008. The history of phot ography in China. Retrieved Oct.18, 2008, from http://web.mac.com/dikotter /iWeb/Dikotter/Photography.htm l GUANGZHOU DAILY. 2008. Guangdong La i Afong: zhongguo sheyingjie de bizu he jiaoao [Lai Afong in Guangdong: the ancestor and pride of Chinese photography]. Guangzhou Daily Oct.27, A3. HACKER, ARTHUR. 2004. China Illustrated: Western Views of the Middle Kingdom Boston, Mass.: Tuttle. HAHN, THOMAS. 2008. The Bibliography of Photo-albums and Materials Related to the History of Photography in China and Tibe t before 1949. Retrieved October 26, 2008, from http://gatheringmountains.net/Photoweb/ HARRIS, DAVID. 1999. Of Battle a nd Beauty: Felice Beatos Photographs of China Santa Barbara, Calif.: Santa Barbara Museum of Art. HIRSCH, ROBERT. 1999. Seizing the Light: A History of Photography. Boston, Mass: Mc Graw Hill.
48 HU, ZHICHUAN. 1993. Zhongguo bainian sheying tulu 1844-1979 [A century of photographs in China 1844-1979]. Huzhou: Fujian Meishu Chubanshe. HU, ZHICHUAN & SHEN CHEN. 1999. Zhongguo jiuyinglu: zhongguo zaoqi sheying zuopinxuan [Old China photographs: selection of early Chinese photographs]. Beijing: Zhongguo Sheying Chubanshe. HUANG, RONGFANG & HUALING LUO. 2008. Feish eng haiwai hongji xianggang: yidai dashi huoshi Taishan ren [Renowned internat ionally and in Hong Kong: the master of the generation might co me from Taishan]. Guangzhou Daily : Oct. 31, A3. HUMMEL, ARTHUR, ed. 1944. Eminent Chinese of the Ching Period [1644-1912] Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Print Office. NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CHINA & BRITISH LIBR ARY. Introduction: Western Eyes: Photography in China 1860-1930. 2008. In Western eyes: historical photographs of China in British Collections, 1860-1930 9-11. Beijing: Guojia Tushu Chubanshe. LAI, AFONG. 1871. Advertisement. The Daily Advertiser No.589: Oct.2. LI, BOQIN & LIANJIE ZHENG, ed. 2003. Zhongguo chuanshi sheying [The best photos of China]. Jilin: Jinlin Photography Publishing House. Li, Di. 1977. Zou Boqi dui guangxue de yan jiu [Zou Boqis studies on optics]. Wuli [Physics], 6 (5): 308-13. LAM, ROBERT P.F. 19 82. Introduction. In The Hong Kong Album: a Selection of the Museums Historical Photographs Hong Kong Museum of Hi story, 2-5. Hong Kong: Urban Council. LAI, EDWIN. 1997. Picturing Hong Kong: Phot ography through Practice and Function. In Picturing Hong Kong: photography 1855-1910 Roberta Wue et al, 49-57. New York: Asia Society Galleries, in association with South China Print. Co., Hong Kong. 2001. The dawn of Hong Kong photography 1839-1919. Besides 3: 1-16. LI, DI & SHANGSHU BAI. 1984. Woguo jindai ke xue xianqu Zou Boqi [Zou Boqi: the science pioneer in modern China]. Ziran kexueshi yanjiu [Studies on the history of natural sciences], 3(4): 378-90. LIANG, SHITAI. 1876. Advertisement. Shebao [Shanghai Newspaper]: May 7. LIN, ZHEN. 1849, reprinted in 1985. Xihai jiyou cao [Notes of traveling to the west]. In Zou xiang shi jie cong shu [Series of Knowing the World] ed. Zhong, Shuhe, 88-102. Hunan: Yuelu Shushe.
49 LUO, SEN. 1857, reprinted in 1983. Rib en riji [Diary in Japan]. In Zaoqi riben youji wuzhong [Five types of travel journals in Japan in early period]. Sen Luo et al, 92-100. Changsha: Hunan Renmin Chubanshe. LUO, ZHENGXIAN. 1983. Shi Zou Boqi Ge Shu Bu [Interpreting Zou Boqis Science Updates]. Zhongguo keji shiliao [Historical materials of science and technology in China] 2: 31-37. MARIEN, MARY WARNER. 2002. S mall Wars: Colonial Expans ion and Photography. In Photography: a Cultural History Mary Warner Marien, 118 -23. London: Laurence King. MODERN CHINESE VISUAL ARTS BIBLIOGR APHIES. 2008. Retrieved Oct.18, 2008, from http://mclc.osu.edu/rc/ART.htm MOORE, OLIVER. 2007. Zou Boqi on Vision and P hotography in Nineteenth Century China. In The Human Tradition in Modern China, ed Kenneth J. Hammond and Kristin Stapleton, 33-53. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 2007. Photography in China: a Globa l Medium Locally Appropriated. IIAS Newsletter Summer 2007: 6-7. PALMQUIST, PETER E, ed. 2000. Photographers: a Sourcebook for Historical Research: Featuring Richard Rudisills Directories of Photographers, an Annotated Bibliography Nevada City, Calif.: Carl Mautz Club. PEARCE, NICK. 2004. Photographs of Peking, China 1861-1908: An inventory and Description of the Yetts Collecti on at the University of Durham Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press. 2007. A Life in Peking: the Peabody Albums. History of Photography 31(3): 276-93. THE PHOTOGRAPHIC NEWS 1884. Photography in Eastern Asia. The Photographic News 28(1330): 129. THE SENTARO DAGUERREOTYP E FIRST JAPANESE TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED. 2009. Retrieved Jun.15, 2009, from http://www.old-japan.co.uk/ article_daguerreotype.htm l SHENBAO. 1876. Photography Introduction to the Workings of the New Technology. Shenbao [Shanghai Newspaper] Feb.22. SHI, SHAOHUA.1982. A Brief History of Photography in China. In Sheying lilun he shijian [Theory and practice of photography]. Sha ohua Shi, 5-12. Beijing: Xinhua Chubanshe.
50 SONG, GANG. 2007. Zhongguo yishu sheying shilun lun zhongguo yishu sheying de wuge shiqi jiuzhen langchao [Discussion on the history of artistic photography in China on its five periods and nine tr ends]. Retrieved Dec.20, 2008, from www.CPAnet.cn THIRIEZ, REGINE.1999. Photography and Portra iture in Nineteenth-century China. Eastern Asian History 17/18: 77-102. THOMSON, JOHN. 187 2. Hong Kong Photographers. The British Journal of Photography 10(656): 569. WANYAN, CHONGHOU. 1873. Preface. In Tuoying qiguan [Treaties on photography]. John Dudgeon. Beijing: Jingdu Shiyiyuan [Imperial Hospital]. WORSWICK, CLARK. 1978 Imperial China: Photographs 1850-1912 New York: Pennwick Publishing. 2008. Photography in Imperial China. In Sheying: Shades of China 1850-1900. Clark Worswick, 11-17. Madrid: Turner. WU, GANG. 2006. Earliest photographs in China. In Sheying shihua [History of photography]. Gang Wu, 3-19. Beij ing: Zhongguo Sheying Chubanshe. WU, JIANXIN. 2000. Chen Li, Zou Boqi de zi ran kexue guan [Chen Li, Zou Boqis viewpoints on natural sciences]. Journal of Guangdong Education Institute 20 (4): 89-93. WU, SUXIN. 1984. Zhongguo sheying shihua [History of photography in China]. Shenyang: Liaoning Meishu Chubanshe. WUE, ROBERTA. 1997. The Beginni ngs of Hong Kong Photography. In Picturing Hong Kong: photography 1855-1910 Roberta Wue, et al, 27-48. New York: Asia Society Galleries, in association with South China Print. Co., Hong Kong. 2005. Essentially Chinese: the Chinese portrait subject in nineteenth-century photography. In Body and face in Chinese visual culture Hung Wu and Katherine R. Tsiang, 257-80. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ ersity Asia Center: Distributed by Harvard University Press. ZHONGXI WENJIAN LU [Peking Magazine]. 1872. Peking: Peking Hospital No.9. ZOU, BOQI. 1873. Sheying zhi qiji [Notes on a mechanism for capturing images]. In Zou zhengjun cungao. Xuxiu siku quanshu. Shanghai: Shanghai Guji Chubanshe. 1874. Ge shu bu [Science updates]. In Bai fu tang suan xue cong shu Changsha: Gu he hua jing she.
51 ZHONGGUO SHEYING BOWUGUAN JI LAOZ HAOPIAN WANG [China Photography Museum & China Old photographs webs ite]. 2008. Retrieved Oct.11, 2008, from http://www.chinaoldphoto.com/ ZHONGGUO SHE YING BOWUGUAN [China Phot ography Museum]. 2008. Retrieved Oct.11, 2008, from http://museum.cpanet.cn/
52 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Shi Chen currently work s at the Getty Research Institute as a research assistant in the Collection Development Department. She received her bachelors degree in museum studies from Sichuan University in China. During her unde rgraduate she also studied at the University of Washington for one year as an exchange student. She has done in ternships in National Womens History Museum and the Getty Research institute.