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Author Topic: Chinese photography  (Read 1827 times)
Brammers
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« on: February 04, 2009, 04:55:38 AM »
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I'm currently studying for a degree in Chinese and French and I'd like to squeeze in my love of photography somehow.  I've currently got 3 broad areas of interest.

The first is photography in the cultural revolution.  Subtopics include shots taken by the Chinese for propaganda purposes Vs those for private purposes Vs by westerners (if any), and photography's role in the spreading of Chinese propaganda.

The 2nd area of interesdt is a comparison of Chinese art during the Mao era, when all traditional forms of Chinese landscapes were discarded in favour of Socialst Realism.  I'd like to see how the comparatively new discipline of photography fitted alongside the well established, if radically altered, methods of painting.

Finally, I could be interested in seeing whether photography manages to break the stereotype that much Chinese modern art is 'kitsch' and sells itself merely on the cache of being Chinese.

I'd appreciate any suggestions of reading or exhibitions for any of these topics.  I'm just at the start of my reserach and anything that you guys could send my way would be much appreciated!  Books, films, essays online...  I need to collect a lot of material!

Thanks for any responses.

Adam
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Brammers
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2009, 10:42:47 AM »
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An update to this if I may.  Copied from a post in another forum, so apologies it doesn't quite flow with the first post:

'I'll be writing my dissertation next year for my degree in Chinese & French. One of the areas that I'm seriously looking at studying is Chinese photography, in particular photography by Chinese snappers from the founding of the PRC in '49 to the founding of the East Village in '93. I'd like to write about the evolution from the portrait and landscape styles, which were heavily influenced by prior Chinese art forms, through the imported Russian Socialst Art (Kitsch!), ending with the eventual 'freedom of photography' which is nicely marked by the East Village and which is carried on today in the 798 art district.

One area of influence for Chinese photographers appears to have been the work of Cartier-Bresson & Capa, both of whom covered the Chinese civil war. Exposure to their work on China seems to have been the catalyst for the move away from simply emulating landscape paintings and taking stages portraits into the beginnings of Chinese photojournalism.

I would very much appreciate any books or online sources which you guys can supply me with on Cartier-Bresson and Capa - particularly Bresson. I've got his bibliography and I'll certainly be getting hold of 'China in Transition', 'China. Photographs and notes on fifteen months spent in China', The Face of Asia' & 'L'Autre Chine', but I'd kill for anything that gives a good overview of his work, philosophy and style. The same goes for Capa, to a slightly lesser extent.

Finally, if anyone knows any wonderful books by Chinese photographers from '49 to the 70s-80s I'd love them for ever... For obvious reasons it's hard to get hold of work from this period.'

Cheers all!
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