CULTURE The first exhibition of a nineteenth-century Chinese photographer


The first exhibition of a nineteenth-century Chinese photographer

By Zheng Sining | People's Daily app

12:54, June 27, 2020

The Lai Fong exhibition has come to an end today after 100 days of duration since February 6. Rare early photographs of China by the Chinese photographer Lai Fong, from the Stephan Loewentheil China Photography Collection, were exhibited for the first time at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Lai Fong (c.1839–1890): Photographer of China runs from 6 February 2020 to the last few days. Admission is free. 


Photo: People's Daily online

The landmark exhibition, "Lai Fong (c.1839–1890): Photographer of China" presents nearly 50 Lai Fong photographs made in the 1870s and 1880s of China. The photographs have been selected from more than 400 Lai Fong photographs in the renowned Loewentheil Collection, which includes more than 21,000 early photographs of China. These photographs include magnificent views of the rapid growth in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Fuzhou, and Xiamen, and important early portraits of the diverse people of late Qing Dynasty China.

The great artist Lai Fong began his photographic career in Hong Kong in 1859. His professional studio, Afong, operated for nearly a century. Lai Fong established and ran his studio for three decades until his death when he passed the studio on to his son and daughter in-law. Its artistic legacy, grounded in traditional Chinese art, influenced generations of photographers including contemporary Chinese image-makers.

"Lai Fong (c.1839–1890): Photographer of China" presents a unique glimpse of China’s rich past through these early photographic masterpieces depicting the people, landscapes, cities, architecture, monuments and culture of China.  This unprecedented exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see China and its people through the lens of the Chinese master photographer at the historical moment before the epochal transformations of the 20th century.

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