TAP, fall 2018

The fall 2018 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review, “Family Photographs”, is now available online at tapreview.org (you may need to refresh your browser to view the new contents). This issue, which is guest edited by Deepali Dewan, features the following articles and book reviews:

Introduction, Deepali Dewan

“A Treasury of Rays”: Finding a Winter Garden in Palestine, Alessandra Amin

Thinking of a Place, Surendra Lawoti

Diaspora and Performance: Reenacting the Family Album, Jessica Nakamura

Family Intact: An Experience of being Photographed, Suryanandini Narain

Finding Family in The Times of India’s Mid-Century Kodak Ads, Jennifer Orpana

Photos Unhomed: Orphan Images and Militarized Visual Kinship, Thy Phu

Modern Family: The Transformation of the Family Photograph in Qajar Iran, Staci Gem Scheiwiller

Review of Guts, by Masaki Yamamoto, Sebastian Galbo

Please take a look, and spread the word to your networks!

All the best,
Sandra Matthews, Editor

A Home for Photography Learning exhibit

2018.9.13 – 2018.11.17
Curator: CHEN Shuxia / Artistic Director: TANG Xin

Artists: DI Yuancang, CHI Xiaoning, ZHONG Xingzuo, LI Tian, YU Genquan, ZHANG Lan, LV Xiaozhong, XING Senlin, YUAN Wenyuan, SUN Qingqing, FAN Shengping, QIAO Zhonglin, XIN Yingyi, XUE Anping, REN Shulin, WEI Kun, XU Yang, WANG Song, WANG Ruoshi, DI Yihong

Taikang Space’s latest exhibition “A Home for Photography Learning: The Friday Salon, 1977–1980” will open to the public from September 13 to November 17. Continue reading

TAP “Circulation” issue–cfp

The Trans Asia Photography Review seeks articles and projects relating to the theme of Circulation for possible publication in our spring 2019 issue. We are interested in the ways that photographs have circulated to, from and within all regions of Asia. What have been the consequences of this circulation? How have historic platforms for the circulation of photographs (books, periodicals, exhibitions and catalogs, websites, collections, informal networks…) changed over time? How do the meanings of photographs shift when they circulate?


  • Proposals are due October 9, 2018; proposals are then reviewed.
  • Full articles from accepted proposals due Dec 15, 2018; articles are then sent out for peer review.
  • Final revised text of accepted articles, all images and permissions due Feb 15, 2019.

Continue reading

Dongguan in photos

Source: China Daily (6/26/18)
Dongguan in photos: From ‘world’s factory’ to intelligent production
By Li Ping | chinadaily.com.cn

Workers in Dongguan are pictured in a photo on display at the Traction Line exhibition in Beijing. [Photo by Li Zhiliang/ photoint.net]

The southern Chinese city of Dongguan in Guangdong province is one of the most important production lines in China, known as “the world’s factory”. With information technology as its pillar industry, Dongguan has witnessed a successful transformation from manufacturing to intelligent manufacturing over the past 30 years.

Thanks to new technologies, the city’s traditional production reliance on low-cost labor and massive human resources has gradually been replaced by automation, digitization and intelligent production. Continue reading

TAP Review, spring 2018

The spring 2018 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available at tapreview.org. You may need to refresh your browser to see the new contents. Addressing the theme of “Voyages”, this issue features the following articles and book reviews:

Book Reviews

Wu Yao, Review of Tong Bingxue, History of Photo Studios in China, 1859–1956 中国照相馆史

Carlos Quijon, Jr., Review of  Zhuang Wubin, Photography in Southeast Asia: A Survey

Articles/Curatorial Projects

Qiuzi Guo, The Odyssey of an Amateur Chinese Photographer: Nostalgia, War, and Exile in the Work of Jin Shisheng Continue reading

Photos from Republican China

Source: Sixth Tone (5/3/18)
A Fragile Peace: Photographs From Republican China
Snapshots of daily life in the run-up to the country’s 1949 reunification show that China’s early 20th century was not a time of constant conflict.
By Feng Keli

A kindergarten teacher leads a group of children in games on the campus of Ginling College, Nanjing, Jiangsu province, 1935. Courtesy of ‘Old Photos’

This is the fifth article in a series on “Old Photos,” a Chinese-language publication that collects images of the country’s modern history. Parts one, two, three, and four can be found here.

A friend once asked which image most moved me during my 22-year editorship of “Old Photos,” a series of Chinese photography books. Although I have published thousands of pictures, one of them — a shot of a kindergarten teacher playing with a group of children on a lawn — particularly stands out, I replied. Continue reading

Migrant memorabilia

Source: The World of Chinese (3/22/18)
Migrant Memorabilia
Objects and memories left in the suburban rubble
By Alexander Cecil McNab

There are few real residents left in Beneficent Temple slum. Aside from a man smoking his cigarette outside, a woman who hasn’t yet signed the relocation contract, and a few stragglers with the security guards (bao’an) knocking on their doors, it’s mostly just people like me—vultures, scavengers here to collect the ruins. I see a woman walking away with a cart full of scrap metal.

I talk to a man wrapping old electrical wires that he says he’s going sell. I am here, however, to collect something of a different sort of value: the stories of the residents that were and the objects that they’ve left behind. Continue reading

Roundup of best photojournalism

Source: China File (2/20/18)
When You Give a Kid a Camera: A Roundup of China’s Best Photojournalism
By Ye Ming, Yan Cong, David M. Barreda.

This dispatch of photojournalism from China cuts across a broad spectrum of society, from film screenings in Beijing for the visually impaired to an acrobatics school 200 miles south, in Puyang, Henan province, and from children in rural Sichuan to the elderly in Shanghai.

An Yi Village through a Child’s Lens | Caixin Media
Various photographers—Caixin

Liangshan, a region in Sichuan Province populated by members of the Yi ethnic minority, is often depicted in Chinese media as poor and underdeveloped. We’ve previously recommended a photo story about a group of migrant workers from Liangshan working in the coastal city of Shenzhen. Photographer Jiao Dongzi and other volunteers gave cameras to children in Liangshan and taught them photography courses, encouraging them to photograph their lives. The images provide a lively, laughter-filled view into childhood in a barren, mountainous environment. The image above is captioned with a quote from the photographer: “My family’s apple tree blossomed during lunchtime. I’m happy. My little brother is happy. My parents are happy. My older brother is happy.” The photos also show, perhaps unsurprisingly, an absence of parents, most of whom have left for work in the city. One of the child photographers wrote: “I play with my friends every day, but sometimes I’m sad because Dad is not at home. Mom has to chop firewood by herself. I’m still too weak.”

View the gallery… Continue reading

Zhang Kechun, the subtle provocateur

There’s an accompanying video to this piece that you can watch at the link below.–Kirk

Source: Sixth Tone (2/20/18)
China, Captured: Zhang Kechun, the Subtle Provocateur
The photographer captures the beauty and sorrow of China’s Yellow River and how it represents a changing society.
By Ming Ye [Ming Ye is a writer and curator who aims to bring Chinese photography to a global audience.]

This article is part of a series on some of China’s most renowned photographers.

‘Between the mountains and water,’ 2015. Courtesy of Zhang Kechun

No natural landmark carries as much cultural significance to the Chinese as the Yellow River. From its remote source in the Tibetan plateau, the country’s second-longest river runs 5,500 kilometers through nine provinces. Thanks to its vast, fertile floodplain, the river is frequently invoked as the cradle of Chinese civilization. Today, it supplies water to 100 million people, 190 million acres of farmland, and thousands of factories in northern China. Continue reading

Photographer documents left-behind kids

Source: CNN (2/4/18)
Photographer documents the plight of China’s left-behind kids
By Nanlin Fang and Katie Hunt, CNN

Photographer documents plight of China’s left-behind children For more than a three years, photographer Ren Shichen has traveled around China taking portraits of the country’s left-behind children. Each child poses in a classroom with a message for their absent parents on the blackboard behind them. Here, Gou Lingyu, 6, from Gaomiao Elementary School, Balipu County asks: “Mommy, where did you go? Mommy left home when I was six months old. Daddy cooks for me every day and works in the field and takes me to school. On the left hand side of the board is written: “Mommy, are you coming back?”

(CNN)For more than three years, photographer Ren Shichen has traveled across China taking portraits of the country’s left-behind children — some of the estimated nine million young kids that are currently growing up without Mom or Dad in China.

His goal is to shed light on the psychological costs of China’s economic boom — the ones borne by rural children whose parents have left their villages to work in China’s cities, often for years at a time, leaving them in the care of grandparents or other relatives. Continue reading

The eco-conscious photography of Duzi

Source: Sup China (12/14/17)
The Big Picture: The Eco-Conscious Photography Of Duzi
“Science can help us understand the facts, but art communicates them in a way that gets people really talking.”

From “Marine Reclamation”

The 2017 Lishui Photography Festival 丽水摄影节 in Zhejiang Province was held in November with the kind of razzmatazz one has come to expect from a large-scale Chinese event bearing the official seal. Festivities began with the obligatory opening ceremony comprising predictable song-and-dance routines punctuated by vaguely jingoistic speeches from local honchos. The pomp set the tone for a festival gigantic in scale: More than 1,500 exhibitions infiltrated all quarters of Lishui 丽水, from North American exhibitions curated by New Yorker Jim Ramer to community photography projects peppering the alleyways of the old town. Legions of volunteers equipped with high-school English were on hand to point lost festival attendees in the right direction, while public buses were free, ensuring visitors could get from photo seminar to workshop to bar with as little bother as a third-tier Chinese city might otherwise cause. Continue reading

TAP fall 2017

The fall 2017 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available at tapreview.org. You may need to refresh your browser to see the new contents. Addressing the theme of “Art and Vernacular Photographies in Asia”, this issue features the following articles and book reviews:


  • Russet Lederman, Then and Now: Japanese Women Photographers’ Books
  • Shuxia Chen, Departing from Socialist Realism: April Photo Society, 1979-1981
  • Joanna Wolfarth, Lineage and Legitimacy: Exploring Royal-Familial Photographic Triads in Cambodia
  • Lee Young June, Photography as a State Apparatus: Resident Registration Card Photography in South Korea
  • Ajay Sinha, Iconology in Transcultural Photography
  • Marine Cabos, The Cultural Revolution through the Prism of Vernacular Photography

Continue reading

TAP “Voyages” issue–cfp extension

The Trans Asia Photography Review seeks proposals for articles and projects relating to the theme of “Voyages”.

New deadline for proposals: November 5, 2017. Full projects due December 28, 2017, when they will be sent out for peer review. Final selections will be published in our spring 2018 issue. Please to go the style guide on the TAP websitefor details on how to format submissions.
The term “voyages” here includes the voluntary and involuntary movement of individuals and groups, as well as the movement of photographic ideas and technologies, from one city, region or nation in Asia to another. How and why do people, ideas and technologies move about, and what are the aftereffects of these voyages?

Questions? Contact editor@tapreview.org.

Sandra Matthews
Editor, Trans Asia Photography Review

Luo Yang smashes stereotypes of Chinese girls

Source: The Beijing (9/27/17)
Beijing-Based Photographer Luo Yang Shoots to Smash Stereotypes of Chinese Girls
By Tom Arnstein

Beijing-Based Photographer Luo Yang Shoots to Smash Stereotypes of Chinese Girls

Luo Yang

The first work that I saw by Luo Yang (pictured above) was a portion of her near decade-long and ongoing GIRLS series exhibited in Beijing as part of the Elimination of Violence Against Women Art Exhibition. In it, she documented Zhou Yan, the victim of an acid attack perpetrated by her former boyfriend. Scars mark the areas of skin where the acid splashed and sketched onto Zhou in that singular horrific and selfish attempt of ownership and destruction. Luo Yang’s skill lies in her ability to document that pain but also to coax out a playful side to her subjects, and through the short six-photograph collection we go from a reticent Zhou, a forearm pulled back to hide her face, to her legs outstretched and swinging playfully in a chair. Continue reading

Sha Fei exhibition

Source: China Daily (9/19/17)
Exhibition focuses on work of noted army photographer
By Lin Qi

Exhibition focuses on work of noted army photographer

Sha Fei, Chinese photographer [Photo provided to China Daily]

Two gunshots were heard at the Bethune International Peace Hospital in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, in December 1949. A Japanese doctor was shot dead by Sha Fei (1912-50), a patient of tuberculosis and a noted photographer of the People’s Liberation Army.

Two months later, Sha was sentenced to death by a military court in China.

A retrial in 1986 acquitted Sha posthumously saying he was in mental distress as he was reminded of the cruelty of war scenes when seeing the Japanese doctor, and he thought the doctor had attempted to poison him.

Sha took up photography in the 1930s and became the first full-time photographer of the Eighth Route Army led by the Communist Party of China around 1937.

But, Sha’s career as a photographer was short lived, and his work was not studied or presented until in recent times.

A Tower of Light, an exhibition now on at the museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy, sheds light on Sha’s contribution to 20th-century Chinese photography. On show are some 100 images from Sha’s oeuvre, which are printed from the negative plates owned by his family. Continue reading