Amazing Historic Photographs From China’s Black-And-White Era

BBC Magazine has an incredible slideshow of photographs from the Republic of China period, before the Cultural Revolution destroyed so many of these type of images. The accompanying story also details Robert Bickers’s efforts to reclaim rare photos as part of the Historical Photographs of China project, which “aims to locate, archive, and disseminate photographs from the substantial holdings of images of modern China held mostly in private hands overseas.” Go check out that website and also the BBC slideshow, which narration from some of the people in the images. Several pictures are sampled after the jump.

(H/T Alicia)

    3 Responses to “Amazing Historic Photographs From China’s Black-And-White Era”

    1. Jess

      Disliked the BBC commentary on this. It’s not as if China was the instagram of world prior to the Cultural Revolution. Consider that all the cameras in the country were in the hands of the wealthy. Which mostly meant either foreigners, or those who later fled to Taiwan.
      Also not a fan of the very European sentiment/justification of: “Aha, we rescued important artefacts that the savage natives would have otherwise destroyed!”

    2. Minger

      Like the link General, txs.

      Not a fan of the tiresome, dilectical struggle that seeks to politicize my consciousness at every click of the mouse.

      But that’s what t’internet was invented for I suppose – that, and well-composed photos.

      For those who don’t read the aticle properly:

      In 2000 Beijing Uni. staff did ‘consider’ wot Jess ‘warns’ of, sought out some photos and are probably quite glad they did too. Jess seems less than happy ?!?

      In refering to the well-composed shots taken by a Chinese diplomat (boo!) and safeguarded in Paris by a Chinese servant (hiss!) and donated by said diplomat’s UK-based (oh, tut-tut) son, The Professor closes:

      “I feel strongly that this is an act of historical restitution, giving back to China something that’s now here, that was taken.”

      What’s to dislike in that sentiment?
      Not my use of quotation marks, that’s for sure.

      Jess – hope you’re not the Jess in SZ….but FFS I think you might be?!?

      Sorry bout that General, glad to have stumbled on here & will be back on yr site if you’ll have me.

      • Jess

        No, it’s the underlying sentiment of the article, not the project, which bothers me. That whole, “Silly Nigeria, you’re too poor and obviously incapable of taking care of your own national relics, so it’s a good thing we have them in the British Museum!” antagonistic, Nicholas Kristof-style white saviour-ish, mentality. “Now let’s pat ourselves on the back for preserving a bit of world history! Hooray!”

        Also, what is SZ?


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