1st Edition

Portraiture and Early Studio Photography in China and Japan

Edited By Luke Gartlan, Roberta Wue Copyright 2017
    270 Pages 20 Color & 65 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 20 Color & 65 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores the early history of the photographic studio and portrait in China and Japan. The institution of the photographic studio has received relatively little attention in the history of photography; contributors here investigate various manifestations of the studio as a place and as a space that was cultural, economic, and creative. Its authors also look closely at the studio portrait not as images alone, but also as collaborative ventures between studio operators and sitters, opportunities to invent new roles, images that merged the new medium with "traditional" visual practices, as well as the portrait’s part in devising modern, gendered, nationalistic, and public identities for its subjects. As the first collection of its kind, Portraiture and Early Studio Photography in China and Japan analyzes the photographic likeness—its producers, subjects, viewers, and pictorial forms—and argues for the historical significance of the photographic studio as a specific and new space central to the formation of new identities and communities. Photography’s identity as a transnational technology is thus explored through the local uses, adaptations, and assimilations of the imported medium, presenting modern images of their subjects in specific Japanese and Chinese contexts.

    Table of Contents

    List of Illustrations

    Note on Transliteration


    Notes on Contributors

    1 Introduction

    Luke Gartlan and Roberta Wue

    Part I Studios and Photographers

    2 Shimizu Tōkoku and the Japanese Carte de Visite: Circumscriptions of Yokohama Photography

    Luke Gartlan

    3 Group Encounters: Milton M. Miller’s Hong Kong and Canton Photographs

    Roberta Wue

    4 Powkee and the Era of Large Studios

    Yi Gu


    Part II Sitters and Domestic Markets

    5 Guiding the Sitter: Matsuzaki Shinji’s Dos and Don’ts for the Photographic Customer

    Sebastian Dobson

    6 Chinese Ideas of Likeness: Painting, Photography, and Intermediality

    Claire Roberts

    7 Inscribed Photographic Portraits: Commemoration and Self-Fashioning in Republican-Period China

    Richard K. Kent

    8 One, and the Same: The Double in Photographic Portraiture from Republican China

    H. Tiffany Lee


    Part III Citizens and Subjects

    9 The Fluidity of Representation: Early Photographs, Asakusa, and Kabuki

    Maki Fukuoka

    10 From Private to Public: Shifting Conceptions of Women’s Portrait Photography in Late Meiji Japan

    Karen M. Fraser

    11 The Republican Lady, the Courtesan, and the Photograph: Visibility and Sexuality in Early Twentieth-Century China

    Joan Judge


    Appendix Matsuzaki Shinji’s Dos and Don’ts for the Photographic Customer

    Translated by Sebastian Dobson


    Glossary of Chinese and Japanese Characters




    Luke Gartlan is Senior Lecturer in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He is the author of A Career of Japan: Baron Raimund von Stillfried and Early Yokohama Photography (2016), coeditor (with Ali Behdad) of Photography’s Orientalism: New Essays on Colonial Representation (2013), and editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed quarterly journal History of Photography. He has held research fellowships at the University of Vienna, Nihon University, Tokyo, and the Australian National University, and has guest edited a special issue on photography in nineteenth-century Japan for History of Photography 33, no. 2 (May 2009).

    Roberta Wue is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on art, photography, and print culture in nineteenth- and twentieth-century China, with a particular interest in the rhetoric of the modern Chinese image and its relationships with its viewers. She is the author of Art Worlds: Artists, Images, and Audiences in Late Nineteenth-Century Shanghai (2015), and co-author of Picturing Hong Kong: Photography 1855-1910 (1997).

    "All the essays in this book are well-written, accessible and thoroughly-researched, as well as wide-ranging and appealing to whatever area of interest in the subject the reader might have. I have not discussed them all because to do so would be to rewrite the introduction, which gives an excellent overview of the subject and the purpose of each essay. Anyone interested in early photography should read this book, and Routledge should be commended for presenting it in such an attractive format, on decent quality paper with clearly-reproduced illustrations."

    -- Asian Review of Books

    "The editors maintain a balance between contributions on Japan and on China. Their organization nicely structures the flow of the chapters, building on issues starting from the empirical and moving toward the representational. The contributors’ attention to photographic technique, composition, circulation, and display is just one common denominator; others are skillfully using contemporaneous print sources and a shared solid fidelity to the photographic image as the anchor of their studies. Although some of these chapters are more original and fruitful than others, they all maintain a high quality and make their own individual contribution to photography studies, our growing understanding of the importance of portraiture, and the emerging histories of photography in China and Japan."

    -- Trans Asia Photography Review

    "The book itself is beautifully designed, well edited, and the text and images professionally presented. People interested in the history of photography, photography in Asia, technology and the modernization of society (women and photography), the interaction of artists and their subjects, the artistic milieu of the portrait studio, photography as it related to traditional and cultural art forms and values, and the rise and demise of studio photography, will want to read this book and to have it part of their library."

    -- H-Japan

    "[This book] puts a spotlight on one of the least-studied areas of the history of photography. The value in this new title truly lies in its ability to fill a longstanding gap in scholarship with excellent quality and approachably-delivered original research."

    -- ARLIS/NA

    "Portraiture and Early Studio Photography in China and Japan, the volume of essays edited by Gartlan and Wue, shows how much we have to learn from 'the diverse roles of the subject invoked in photographic sittings, the medium’s association with and incorporation into ‘traditional’ visual practices and cultural systems, and photography’s part in devising modern, gendered, and public identities for its subjects.'"

    -- Cross-Currents

    "The book adds to expanding research about the histories of portraiture and early studio photography, that have traditionally sat outside of the western canon of photography. ...This is a fascinating read and one which illuminates cultural insight into early Chinese and Japanese socio-cultural behaviours. The appeal alongside of photographic and social historians can equally be of interest to cultural anthropologists."

    -- Visual Studies