If you’re into different cultures and continents, this is a great visual journey back in time: Visualizing China, a British-funded project to allow users to explore and enhance more than 8,000 digitized images of photographs of China taken between 1850 and 1950. It’s a tool for researchers, students and photographers alike who are not only interested in the photographic record of China during this period, but also in early photography techniques.
Strictly speaking, this is China street photography from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, a project made possible by a collaboration between scholars at the University of Bristol, University of Lincoln, the Institut d’Asie Orientale and TGE Adonis, this project aims to locate, archive and disseminate photographs from the substantial holdings of images of old and modern China held mostly in private hands overseas.
You catch a glimpse of what the revolution destroyed. You’re shown a Shanghai that is moving fascinated professional and snapshot photographers alike.
The images capture the city tramping on foot, ferried in sampans, seated in rickshaw or on wheelbarrow (or pulling or pushing them), taking its trams and the motor buses.
They came to the city on foot, by rail or steamer. Jostling the busy thoroughfares are shop signs and massive billboards; Sikh police marshal people along.
China’s cities and their peoples embraced “modernity” as the collected photographs from across the country show: they walked and rode it (real vehicles and imagined ones), and caught it on camera as they went.
Take your time, simply select an image to get more details, or search for other images of any other Chinese city.