Visualizing China - Telling the Visual Stories in the Age of Modern China

People cannot go without photography when talking about Modern China. The photography, a visual technology invented merely a few years before in Europe, arrived in China together with colonial expansion (Wu 2016).

In Chinese Modern history, the development of photography always reflects the fate of the state. In each period, the photograph, the camera, the expression of people's face and the event behind the photo, is part of Chinese history. Meanwhile, the machine makes the photograph, camera, has a deep relationship with many Chinese celebrities, such as Empress Cixi, and the Madam of Mao.

The history of Chinese photography was also a history of Chinese modernization process. Each period in the history of Chinese photography makes the process of modernization. At first, people in China were not familiar with photography at all. Then, they studied photography skills and tried to produce their own camera. As a result, the success of the Chinese photography is also the success of Chinese modernization process. 

The following three articles deal with the complexity of the visual history narrative through an intensive study of types of cameras, specific events and the message in which these photographs are presented to Chinese people.


Hongyuan Dai