Photography and China is the first overview of the subject to be published in English, providing a comprehensive account of this previously neglected relationship. Spanning the period from the inception of photography until the present, the book foregrounds Chinese photographers and subjects, and draws on works in museum, archival and private collections across China, the USA, Europe and Australia. Taking a thematic approach to her historical survey, Claire Roberts brings together commercial, art and documentary photography, locating the images within the broader context of Chinese history. With a constant focus on the images, and the studios or individuals that created them, Roberts describes the long tradition of Chinese artistic culture into which photography was at first absorbed, and which it subsequently expanded. She recounts the stories of practitioners who were agents in that process of change, both from China and overseas, and examines the different purposes for which they used photography, be they commercial, political or artistic.
Featuring a strong narrative and numerous striking images, many unfamiliar to a Western audience, Photography and China will appeal to all those with an interest in China, photography, Chinese art and visual culture, or twentieth-century history and society. The book will also be relevant to a general audience, as well as students, scholars, photographers, curators and collectors.