Photography in China : Science, Commerce and Communication book cover
1st Edition

Photography in China
Science, Commerce and Communication

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 30, 2021
ISBN 9781350108042
September 30, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
296 Pages 27 Color & 63 B/W Illustrations

SAVE ~ $30.00
was $150.00
USD $120.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Emphasizing the medium’s reception among several Chinese constituencies, this book explores photography’s impact within new discourses on science, as well its effects in social life, visual modernity and the media during China’s transition from imperial to republican government.

General knowledge and academic teaching of early modern Chinese visual culture stops short of fitting photography into the larger context of visual practices and theories. This study redraws the boundaries by making photography the central concern within changing priorities of visual representation and its functions during a period of major cultural and political change. No other study draws on such intimate familiarity with the early glamour of photography as science, commerce and communication in the various local conditions of China’s cities and towns. Joining a body of critical writing that examines photography’s histories outside the familiar confines of the West, this book looks beyond the tourist and imperialist gazes of photographer-adventurers from the Western powers and Japan. It defines instead the Chinese priorities of photographic vision that are abundantly evident in surviving photographs as well as in records as various as technical manuals and personal inscriptions. Understanding local practices and local knowledge are the keys to explain the highly successful indigenization of a medium as globalizing as photography with reference to Chinese society’s own terms and practices.

This book will be of particular interest to scholars in art and visual culture, the history of photography and Asian art. 

Table of Contents

Introduction. PART 1: Science 1. Methods of Invention 2. Terms of Description PART 2: COMMERCE 3. Sites of Production 4. Interiors of the Imagination PART 3: COMMUNICATION 5. Categories of Content 6. Circuits of Communication

View More



Oliver Moore is professor of Chinese language and culture at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. His research focuses on early and modern art history in China.