TAP Fall 2019

The fall 2019 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available online at tapreview.org. (You may need to refresh your browser to view the new contents.) This issue, titled “Writing Photo Histories,” features the following articles and book reviews:

Writing Photo Histories

Picturing Meishu: Photomechanical Reproductions of Works of Art in Chinese Periodicals before WWII
Yanfei Zhu


The Shanghai Amateur Photographic Society: An Early Photographic Organization Established by Westerners in China
Che Liang Continue reading

Qian Haifeng captures China’s slow trains

Source: SCMP (11/29/19)
Blue-collar photographer’s slice-of-life photos aboard China’s slow trains capture a side of country forgotten amid the fanfare over high-speed progress
China’s high-speed trains are a gleaming testament to its rise, but in the shadows is another world, one documented by a hotel worker with a second-hand Nikon. Qian Haifeng set out to see country on the cheap, and began photographing his fellow passengers. His images have won him national and international recognition
By Thomas Bird

Photographer Qian Haifeng. Photo: Thomas Bird

Photographer Qian Haifeng. Photo: Thomas Bird

Edging the banks of mighty Lake Tai and bisected by the fabled Grand Canal, Wuxi in eastern China has been a favoured place of trade since antiquity. Wedged between economic heavyweights Suzhou and Changzhou in Jiangsu province, the manu­facturing hub has awoken from its post-socialist slumber and is now known more for software and solar panels than silk and rice.

The Wuxi Grand Hotel looms large over the city’s Binhu district, where, in a 20th-floor Japanese restaurant, appears the hotel’s long-serving electrician, Qian Haifeng. The 52-year-old is sporting brown worker over­­alls and big black boots. He is a little hard of hearing but a boyish energy projects the character of someone much younger.

“Sorry to bring you all the way up here,” Qian says in Mandarin lilted with the local Jiangnan dialect. “I usually eat in cheap noodle shops on the street but I’m not allowed to leave the hotel while on duty. At least up here you get a good view of Wuxi.” Continue reading

Poetry meets politics in photos

Source: NYT (5/15/19)
Poetry Meets Politics in Photos of China
Between violent flash points in history, Liu Heung Shing saw tenderness and subversive humor in societies saturated with propaganda.
Photographs by Liu Heung Shing
Text by Tiffany May

Musicians giving an impromptu performance in support of demonstrators during the Tiananmen Square protests. Beijing, 1989.Credit Liu Heung Shing

Liu Heung Shing looked outside the car window: an imposing portrait of Mao Zedong had disappeared from the east side of Tiananmen Square. It was 1981.

Mao loomed large that year as people gathered to watch the depositions of his political cronies, known as the Gang of Four, on state television.Earlier that autumn, before Mao’s portrait was removed from a history museum in Tiananmen Square, Mr. Liu photographed a skater gliding past a statue of Mao. The frozen faces of Communist leaders got a breath of fresh air in Mr. Liu’s photography: A Beijing resident in 2008 lined the facade of her house with the portraits of lionized figures, in plucky defiance of demolitions planned before the Summer Olympics. Continue reading

TAP Review (spring 2019)

The spring 2019 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is now available online at tapreview.org. (You may need to refresh your browser to view the new contents.) This issue, titled “Circulation,” features the following articles, book reviews, and interviews:


Clare Harris, “Creating a Space for Performing Tibetan Identities: A Curatorial Commentary”

Kevin Michael Smith, “Images Under Construction: Photomontage in Interwar Europe and Japan”

Yiwen Liu, “Witnessing Death: The Circulation of Lu Xun’s Postmortem Image”

Russet Lederman, “Photobooks by Women from Asia: A Conversation with Amanda Ling-Ning Lo, Miwa Susuda, and Iona Ferguson”

Chen Shuxia, Zhou Dengyan, and Shi Zhimin, “Photographic Praxis in China, 1930s-1980: A Conversation with Chen Shuxia, Shi Zhimin, and Zhou Dengyan about Shi Shaohua and the Friday Salon”

Erin Hyde Nolan, “The Gift of the Abdulhamid II Albums: The Consequences of Photographic Circulation” Continue reading

TAP Review fall 2019–cfp

CALL for Proposals: TAP Review Fall 2019

The fall 2019 issue of the Trans Asia Photography Review is open to all topics relating to historical or contemporary photography in all regions of Asia (East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia). We are interested in a wide range of approaches, and in both art and vernacular photography from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Proposal deadline is April 8, 2019. If your proposal is accepted after preliminary review, then completed projects are due on June 3, 2019. Full peer reviews will take place at that time. Continue reading

Youths in China’s snowbound rustbelt

Source: NYT (2/26/19)
Young People Left Behind in China’s Snowbound Rust Belt
Ronghui Chen’s photographs of young people in Northeastern China capture a loneliness he recognized in his own trek from village to city.
Photographs by Ronghui Chen
Text by Tiffany May

A group of students about to take an art exam standing in front of promotional posters for Fushun, China. February 2018. Credit Ronghui Chen

As a sub-zero blizzard raged outside, Ronghui Chen pushed open a glass window to let in a gust of cold air.

He was in Yichun, a faded boomtown in northeastern China, where in December, 2016 he began photographing young people whose isolation he recognized in his own life. “This kind of heating puts people into the most lethargic state, depriving them of the ability to reflect,” he later said in a phone interview. At the same time, he also finds it frightening to become emotionally hardened like ice underfoot in the northeastern regions that made up China’s Rust Belt. “I feel that many people, like the land itself, are making themselves freeze.” Continue reading

Photographer’s quest to reverse historical amnesia

Source: NYT (1/1/18)
A Photographer’s Quest to Reverse China’s Historical Amnesia
By Amy Qin

A rally at a stadium in Harbin, China, in 1966, attended by the photographer Li Zhensheng. A Communist Party secretary and the wife of another official were denounced and splattered with ink.CreditLi Zhensheng, via Chinese University Press

HONG KONG — The photographer Li Zhensheng is on a mission to make his fellow Chinese remember one of the most turbulent chapters in modern Chinese history that the ruling Communist Party is increasingly determined to whitewash.

“The whole world knows what happened during the Cultural Revolution,” Mr. Li said. “Only China doesn’t know. So many people have no idea.”

Clad in a dark blue photographer’s vest, Mr. Li, 78, spoke in a recent interview in Hong Kong, where the first Chinese-language edition of his book “Red-Color News Soldier” was published in October by the Chinese University Press of Hong Kong. Continue reading

Lu Guang shows China’s dark side

Source: NYT (12/8/18)
A Photographer Goes Missing in China
Lu Guang’s images have shown the world China’s dark side.
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Robert Y. Pledge (Robert Pledge is an editor, curator and co-founder of Contact Press Images, a photojournalism agency.)

A factory worker in Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia, in 2005. Due to a lack of environmental safety standards they would get ill after one or two years on the job.CreditCreditPhotographs by Lu Guang/Contact Press Images

For five weeks, the world has had no idea where Lu Guang is.

Lu Guang is an internationally acclaimed photographer from China, and he has been my friend for more than 15 years. I’m proud that the agency I co-founded represents and distributes his work. We first met in Beijing in 2002. He was already a well-known and widely awarded documentary photographer in his country, and he would soon win a slew of international awards, including some of the world’s most prestigious. Continue reading

Where is photographer Lu Guang

Source: SCMP (11/29/18)
Where is China’s missing photographer Lu Guang? Hong Kong press club calls for answers
Foreign Correspondents’ Club is ‘deeply concerned’ over award-winning documentary photographer’s disappearance. Last heard from on November 3 in troubled Xinjiang region.
By Nectar Gan

Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club has added its voice to the clamour calling for answers after Chinese documentary photographer Lu Guang went missing while on a business trip to Xinjiang, on November 3. Photo: handout

Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club has called on Chinese authorities to confirm the whereabouts of missing award-winning Chinese photojournalist Lu Guang, saying it is “deeply concerned” over his disappearance from China’s western Xinjiang region.

Lu, internationally acclaimed for his gripping photos of the dire consequences of environmental pollution, drug addiction and Aids in China, has been missing for weeks after visiting the troubled region to meet other photographers. Continue reading

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