About the symposium

30 September – 2 October 2021 Online

All contributions will be published in a peer-reviewed publication at the end of 2022.

The discovery of photography played a key role in the growth of learning about remote areas, as it allowed for the capture and faithful interpretation of reality. Articles and news in periodicals and book publications of travelogues were suddenly completed with shots whose authenticity could not be disputed. Photography, one of the most important inventions of the 19th century, became an important milestone in the knowledge of new regions and their inhabitants, culture and lifestyle. Only a few years after the creation of the first daguerreotypes, the first attempts at their recreation were made in the Far East. At the same time, European and American photographers made their way there thanks to the so-called “open ports” and set up their own photographic studios, where their assistants familiarized themselves better with the technology of photography. This transfer of knowledge gave rise to a new generation of domestic photographers that was very familiar with the technological possibilities of photography and the contemporary technological methods, but also brought new inspiration into their photographic work which followed up on the domestic art tradition.

Photography and visual documentation soon essential sources of information about Asian countries, the different nations there, and a contemporary testimony about historical events. Photography made it possible to learn about new worlds and find out more about remote regions from the comfort of one’s home. Thanks to travellers, diplomats, merchants, correspondents for European or American periodicals, sailors at commercial ships or warships, or simply just adventurers, the medium of photography gradually made its way to other places around the world, as part of memories of distant journeys or as part of the newly emerging collection fonds. Nevertheless, these activities did not only take place within the colonial powers such as England or France, but they also started to be undertaken more frequently in what were more or less peripheries, such as Central and Eastern Europe, Germany, Italy or Austria-Hungary.

The phenomenon of Asian photography, or photography in the Asian genre or with local themes was not at the centre of attention of specialized workers and curators for a very long time. Only over the past 20 years, the phenomenon was rehabilitated and studied more in depth, especially in Western Europe and America, thanks also to the commercial interests of artistic or antiquarian auctions and jumble sales. However, the region of Central and Eastern Europe has only been involved marginally with this research. That is why the organizers of this symposium have formulated several questions and study topics that could be discussed at the symposium.

They are, above all: 
How is Asian photographic documentation and reproduction currently evaluated and classified? What is the role of a mediator – curator in the organisation and creation of inventory fonds of memory institutions? What is the point of view on this transfer of knowledge resulting from the status of the volatile medium itself? What resonance does this transfer of knowledge have in Asian destinations? Are period photographs really just souvenir items without any artistic value? Who actually were the collectors of these items and for what purpose did they gather them? This symposium will attempt to answer some of these questions.


day 1

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Please note that all times are Prague local time (CEST/GMT+2)

13:45 Registration – Welcome – Introduction

14:00–14:50 Keynote speech I

Trading Places: Business and the Materials of Meiji Photography.

Luke Gartlan
School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, Scotland

Trading Places: Business and the Materials of Meiji Photography

Photography in Asia has grown remarkably as an area of academic and curatorial attention in recent decades. Exhibitions, publications, and conferences have highlighted long neglected archives of photographs and enriched past understandings of photographers’ careers and markets at the domestic and international level. Understandably, the relative neglect of important archives and photographers active in nineteenth-century Asia has prompted a desire to resurrect and reconstitute careers, activities, and bodies of work. This is an ongoing process demonstrated by the current conference that has become integral to scholarship on Asia’s multiple visual histories. 
Photographs as objects of display and analysis may seem indispensable to this project, but this paper argues for a wider consideration of the business practices and materials essential to photography in the writing of its history. Taking Meiji-era photography as its case study, this paper considers alternative approaches to photography’s history beyond the photograph within frameworks of the business, trade, and manufacture of photographic equipment and chemical materials. In particular, I want to argue for dialogues with other related fields of intellectual enquiry, including histories of business and chemical manufacture that are inseparable from photography’s rise to commercial prominence in nineteenth-century Japan, and indeed elsewhere in Asia. What sources are available to pursue such histories of photography’s material requisites? And to what extent did the business of photography and its materials become contested with the formation of the modern nation-state’s own structures and institutions? 

Studio of Futami Asakuma, Ginza district, nichōme, 
Tokyo, ca. 1883
Reproduced from Yoshida Yasujirō, 
Tōkyō meika hanjō zuroku [Illustrated Catalog of Celebrated and Prosperous Stores of Tokyo], 
Yoshida Yasujirō 1883 

15:00–17:00 Panel I

Archetypes – Stereotypes – Genres – Variability – Identity
Chair: Burglind Jungmann

Street Cries in China from British Photographers’ Lens: Inheritance and Evolution

Bing Wang
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, USA

Street Cries in China from British Photographers’ Lens: Inheritance and Evolution

As part of greater ethnological and colonial interest in and ambitions for local life and characters, occupational types flourished as a genre in early photographs of China. In this paper examining images of this genre made by early China-based British photographers, including William Floyd (1834–ca. 1900) and John Thomson (1837–1921), I discuss visual sources, compositional alterations, and possible narratives of these images.

On the one hand, these works fit within both British and Chinese pictorial traditions of urban itinerant hawkers and cries. Thematic and compositional overlaps can be observed among these photographs and earlier images produced both in Britain and China, such as Marcellus Laroon’s (British, 1653–1702) Cryes of the City of London (1688), Fang Xun’s (Chinese, 1737–1799) Taiping huanle tu ce (1779), and Pu Qua’s (Chinese, around 1800) gouaches on occupations in Canton (1792). These works, across medium and cultures, share visual formulas depicting individual peddlers by isolating figures from their environmental context and indicating their specialties by assigning figures with iconic props.

On the other hand, while converting motifs and compositions from earlier printing into a photographic medium, the photographers added figures of a customer. Such alterations reconstruct an iconic moment during the sale process, immersing the occupational figures into their activities. The photographers enhance the sense and illusion of “reality” that this genre intends, as they not only visualize the figure of an isolated itinerant hawker but also suggest a mutually satisfactory bargain as it might have been experienced—both visually and auditorily—in real life.

John Thomson 
Chinese Fruit Seller
Albumen Print
Published in 1868
Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum

Photography and the Changing ‘Image’ of Japan in the Early Illustrated Press.

Mirjam Dénes
Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Photography and the Changing ‘Image’ of Japan in the Early Illustrated Press 

The early history of photography, a medium regarded as the most capable of capturing ‘reality’ was linked with the early history of the illustrated newspaper, a medium regarded as the most capable of disseminating visual information to the masses. As soon as photographs from and about the newly reopened Japan found their way to Europe, they were reproduced in innumerate copies, and reached people with different ages, gender, and social stance, indiscriminately, thus becoming important sources of new knowledge.

Such images were, however, in the hands of the editors: they almost never appeared on their own, instead, they were accompanied with text, and thus, they either served an illustrative or an additive purpose to enrich the verbal information. How did the use of photographs as the means of mass media change their original function, meaning and context? How was the visual ‘image’ of Japan shaping in European minds through the nation’s modern history thanks to the rich selection of images and to the conscious editing of publishers? Was there a universal visual ‘stereotype’ in reign, or was the ‘image’ of Japan disseminated by the press differently, country by country? 
I will try to answer such questions throughout my talk, based on the outcomes of a research project, which focused on the Japanese imagery of Hungarian illustrated newspapers from 1854 to 1919, the period when interest in Japan sprang in the area of East-Central Europe.

Unknown Artist
A war photographer on a balloon during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95
Press photography, published in Vasárnapi Ujság (Sunday News), 1895 (42/3), p. 44
Original source: Anonymous: An illustrated report on the Japanese-Chinese war. Tokio, Osaka, The Soosando, 1895 (Cover)
Courtesy ARCANUM Digital Database

Felice Beato and the Carte-de-visite Photograph in Japan, 1863–1868.

Sebastian Dobson 
Independent scholar and dealer in nineteenth-century photography, based in the United Kingdom

Felice Beato and the Carte-de-visite Photograph in Japan, 1863-1868

Felice Beato (c.1834-1909) has long been acknowledged as one of the major photographers active in Asia, and in particular Japan, during the nineteenth century. After establishing his studio in the treaty port of Yokohama in the summer of 1863, he spent the next five years creating a portfolio of landscape photographs taken across Japan as well as a series of studio-based studies of Japanese subjects. This stock of Japanese ‘views’ and ‘costumes’, which Beato successfully packaged in his trademark deluxe albums, not only established the parameters within which Japanese souvenir photography operated into the following century but also played an important role in shaping contemporary Western images of Japanese society. 
However, while scholarly examination of Beato’s Japanese portfolio has focussed on the work which he produced in larger formats, most notably from 10 x 12 inch (254 x 305 mm) negatives, his equally prolific output in the more modest format of the carte-de-visite (2.25 x 3.5 inches, or 89 x 138 mm) has received considerably less attention from scholars and exhibition organisers. In this paper, I propose to examine this hitherto overlooked part of Beato’s work and evaluate its place in the wider context of early Japanese photography.

Felice Beato
My Artists
Hand-coloured albumen print mounted as a carte-de-visite

Towards the Future: Between Photographs and Prints in Meiji Era Japan.

Frank Feltens
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, USA

Towards the Future: Between Photographs and Prints in Meiji Era Japan

The advent of photography in Japan triggered fundamental shifts in the country’s artistic landscape. The area of Japanese art most heavily affected by the camera was the print industry. The novelty and relative efficiency of the photographic process instigated a rapid decline of traditional print-making, a development that ultimately encouraged artists and print publishers to reinvent the medium. At the end of this process, prints emerged renewed as a modern genre of the arts. Print makers both reacted against and were inspired by photography at equal measure, and photographers punned on visual modalities of traditional woodblock prints. 
The impact of photography on the traditional arts of Japan has only recently begun to be the focus of exhibitions and a definitive scholarly examination of the cross-referential nature of early photography and the traditional print industry is still absent. This talk examines how photography served as an instrument to reinvigorate and shape the future direction of traditional Japanese woodblock prints in the second half of the 19th century.

Felice Beato
Untitled (Kago)
Ca. 1860s 
Photographic print
Henry and Nancy Rosin Collection of Early Photography of Japan. 
Partial purchase and gift of Henry and Nancy Rosin, 1999-2001, FSA A1999.35 019
Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington,D.C.


17:15–17:30 Information

Power and Perspective: An Upcoming Exhibition on Early Photography in China at the Peabody Essex Museum

17:30–18:30 Keynote speech II

…When writing a travelogue, I only record my general impressions, and most of all I buy photographs….
The Creation of the First Photographic Collections from Asia in 19th-Century Central Europe.

Filip Suchomel
Charles University, Prague, Faculty of Arts, KREAS Project, Czech Republic

…When writing a travelogue, I only record my general impressions, and most of all I buy photographs….
The creation of the first photographic collections from Asia in 19th-century Central Europe

The interest in a deeper study of collections of Asian photography has started relatively recently in Central Europe, on a larger scale practically only in the last decade of the 20th century, that is, at a time when collections of other artworks, historical artifacts or ethnographics had long been the subject of the constant interest of experts in many museum and gallery institutions. Photographs were only perceived as auxiliary material without any great historical or even artistic value, even though photographic collections created by the citizens of our Central European nations in the second half of the 19th century, whose collections can still be found in our territory to this day, are no less extensive than those found with our western neighbours. However, how did they make their way into our collections, where can we find their roots and who were the people who collected them for future generations?

  The roots of these photographic collections, whether they have survived to this day or whether we only know about them from period sources, have to be looked for with those who were the first to have the chance to visit distant countries, whether privately or in the services of their countries as diplomats, military attachés, or sailors. In the specific case of Central Europe, they were mostly the members of the Prussian (later German) or Austro-Hungarian navy who understood the significance of photography as a means of obtaining relevant information about distant countries. They were soon followed by eminent aristocrats who set out on journeys around the world with the aim of learning about distant countries first-hand. They would buy photographic collections to illustrate their experiences, as proof of their travel activities, but also with the aim of a deeper understanding of the life and culture in the visited destinations. 
A distinct group were the traders who went searching for opportunities to earn a solid income in the distant lands; and towards the end of the century also eminent representatives of urban areas, whose visits to the distant lands were made possible by an unparalleled boom in tourism. This lecture will introduce the origins of selected photographic collections in Central Europe in the form of a case study and will also attempt to answer the question of how photography influenced the development of Central European knowledge of the Asian continent at the end of the long 19th century, that is, at a time of quickly developing contacts between Central European states and Asia.

Uchida Kuichi 
Party in a Boat on the Sumida River
Albumen Print
Ca. 1870
Former Erwin Dubsky Collection
Courtesy The National Heritage Institute, Lysice Chateau, Czech Republic

day 2

Friday, 1 October 2021

Please note that all times are Prague local time (CEST/GMT+2)

14:00–14:50 Keynote speech III

Chosŏn Entering the International Arena: Three Witnesses.

Burglind Jungmann
Professor emerita at UCLA, USA
Adjunct research fellow at Heidelberg University, Germany

Chosŏn Entering the International Arena: Three Witnesses

The late decades of the Chosŏn dynasty are remembered for the country’s inner turbulences and the competition between foreign powers over their dominance on the peninsula. Yet, during the crucial period from the 1880s to the early 1900s, Chosŏn was considered ready to independently enter the international arena. In the roughly twenty-five years between the first treaties with the USA and European countries and 1905, when Japan took charge of Chosŏn’s foreign affairs, Korea sparked the interests of Western diplomats, adventurers and travelers. That it was called the ‘Hermit Nation’ enhanced its attraction as a region to be newly explored. 
This talk will present photographs and texts of three witnesses of this period, namely Isabella Bird, Burton Holmes, and Jack London, and analyze their unique perceptions and visual ‘constructions’ of this nation. As their personal backgrounds and the intentions of their visits were quite different, one wonders: how much did their own circumstances influence their visual and textual description of the country, how much do we really learn about Korea, and how did people in Korea respond to these visitors?

Burton Holmes
“Mr. Pak”
Hand-colored lantern slide
Courtesy Department of Art History, University of California Los Angeles

15:00–17:00 Panel II

Photographic Collections–Curators, Collectors, Travellers and their Admirers
Chair: Filip Suchomel

“Da una fotografia”. Picturing Japan in the Official Account of the First Italian Diplomatic Mission to Japan and China (1875).

Stefano Turina
Department of Historical Studies, Università degli Studi di Torino,
Da una fotografia”. Picturing Japan in the
official account of the first Italian diplomatic mission to Japan and China (1875)

The first Italian diplomatic mission to Japan and China occurred in 1866. During the travel the zoologists Filippo de Filippi and his assistant Enrico Hillyer Giglioli were able to collect zoological and botanical specimens, Japanese and Chinese objects, but also photographs in local shops. Since De Filippi died in Hong Kong, Giglioli was designated to
write the official travelogue of the journey, published in 1875: Viaggio intorno al globo della r. pirocorvetta italiana Magenta negli anni 1865-66-67-68. The whole book was illustrated with 88 engravings and 10 plates, mainly obtained from photographs, and the Japanese section contains 9 engravings and a plate “from a photograph” since for the young scientist this new medium was the most reliable source for a scientific publication.

Thanks to the text and the public archives, where the Giglioli collection of photographs are today preserved, it is possible to reconstruct the origin of the Japanese photographs: they were collected at Shimooka Renjō and Felice Beato shops in August 1866 in Yokohama but also sent by local residents or acquired in shops in various cities. Also, the reason of the Giglioli’s final selection of engravings is worth investigating: for example, some were unique on the Italian (and Western) editorial market of that time.

Frederick William Sutton
‘Uomini notevoli Ainos a Hakodadi, Yeso’ 
Albumen print
Former Enrico H. Giglioli collection.
Courtesy Museo Preistorico Etnografico ‘Luigi Pigorini’, part of the Museo delle Civiltà, Roma.
"Notabili Aino di Yeso", engraving from Enrico H. Giglioli, Viaggio intorno al globo della r. pirocorvetta italiana "Magenta" negli anni 1865-66-67-68, Maisner, Milano 1875, p. 500

Ambiguous Encounters and Colonial Imaginations – A Swiss Diplomat between Japanese Imperialism, Korean Independence and Swiss Economic Interests.

Rebeca Gómez Morilla
University of Zurich, Switzerland

Ambiguous Encounters and Colonial Imaginations – A Swiss Diplomat between Japanese Imperialism, Korean Independence and Swiss Economic Interests

Studies on Swiss contributions to photographic production within colonial networks have focused on Western dominated colonies in Africa, the Americas and Southeast Asia and little attention has been given to East Asia. This presentation offers the unique opportunity to study Swiss-East Asian entanglements within the colonial context by looking at a hitherto unstudied area, namely Korean photography. By using the case study of Paul Ritter (1865-1921), the first Swiss ambassador to Japan, the presentation examines Ritter’s purpose for his travel to Korea and how he contributes to a global colonial dialogue. 
His photographs exemplify the complex, ambiguous and contradicting encounters between Japanese imperial presence, Korean everyday life and the role of Swiss persons as ‘colonial outsiders’. Ritter, who visited Korea in the name of the Swiss Government to locate economic opportunities, shifts between tourist images, ethnographic documentation and official diplomatic duties. His photographs enable us to question Swiss “colonial innocence”, showing how Ritter repurposes Japanese colonial imagery. In doing so, the presentation shows how Japanese, Korean and Swiss identity could only be articulated through oppositional, racialised and gendered discourse. Drawing from Ritter’s photographic collection, official government reports and family documents and correspondences, the study reflects on the complex political and economic interests in East Asia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Unknown photographer
Group photograph of Paul Ritter (sitting on a horse with colonial attire) with Europeans and Koreans.
Black-and-white photograph, 10 x 14 cm.
1894 or 1907
Courtesy Ritter Collection, Historisches Museum Bern, Switzerland.

In the land where only the abstract qualities are permanent – Photographic Collection of Bedřich Feuerstein.

Helena Čapková
Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan

In the land where only the abstract qualities are permanent – Photographic collection of Bedřich Feuerstein 

Bedřich Feuerstein (1892-1936) was a Czech avantgarde architect who worked with Antonin Raymond (1888-1976) in his Japanese design office from 1926 to 1930. Feuerstein’s cosmopolitan lifestyle is richly photographically documented in his archive which will be the key resource for this paper. The photographs illustrate not only his travels, but also, they serve as a testimony to his aesthetic preferences and interests in terms of Japanese architecture and design. Japanese architecture represented for him not only a certain aesthetic ideal, but also a model for dignified social living. Feuerstein was seeking for a particular imagery and images to present in his talks that he was already planning while in Japan and that he later gave and published. 
This paper will also provide the context to Feuerstein’s efforts in finding modern architecture in Japan and present it via photographs to Czech audiences. Architectural photography of the interwar period in Japan was closely related and practiced by architects themselves, for example by Kishida Hideto (1899-1966) or Yamawaki Iwao (1898-1987). Their modernist framing had a lasting impact on the way Japanese architecture was approached and pictured in decades to come. In the conclusion, the paper will offer some speculation as to whether Feuerstein’s selection followed, or not, the preferences of his Japanese contemporaries.

Unknown photographer
Ca. 1927
Former Bedřich Feuerstein collection 
Courtesy © Náprstek Museum in Prague, Archive

The Noblot Collection, French Indochina 1927–1937. A Private Contribution to Colonial Iconography.

Michèle Galdemar
Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris, France

The Noblot Collection, French Indochina 1927 – 1937. A private contribution to colonial iconography

Colonial gendarmerie officer in French Indochina between 1904 and 1937, Adrien Noblot built up a collection of photographs between 1927 and 1937. These documents were entrusted to the In Visu laboratory by his grandson. The entire collection will be made available online.

This collection presents a large spectrum of subjects about his life and the country where his used to live. But Adrien Noblot collection brings also an unofficial contribution to French Indochina iconography as well as unpublished or mis-identified events. This collection of photographs consists of 10 boxes of stereoscopic glass plates, three photographic albums and a report on the district of Cochinchine-Cambodia where he spent his entire career. Adrien Noblot has created a documentary work : he shots, got and gathered 400 glass plates and 1200 photographs on paper prints and postcards. 
The most important part of Adrien Noblot’s pictures is showing is family life and social status as well as it’s professional career. They comply with colonial expression of social success (holidays, tourism, hunting large game, military reward). Noblot’s professional situation certainly made possible the king Monivong coronation pictures, as well as the Monivong bridge inauguration (Cambodia). The most fascinating is 36 pictures set, showing a colonial repression in Saïgon 1936, today present in the Associated press archives.

Unknown photographer
Untitled (Saïgon: Delphine and Adrien Noblot and the rickshaw)
Glass stereoscopic image
Ca. 1937
Private collection, Franc


17:15–18:45 Panel III

Uniqueness – Visuality – Transformation
Chair: Luke Gartlan

Hazy Moon, Eclipsed Sun: Between Art and Science. The Aesthetics of Astronomical Photography and Celestial painting in Meiji Japan.

Ayelet Zohar
Tel Aviv University, Israel
Hazy Moon, Eclipsed Sun: Between Art and Science. 
The Aesthetics of Astronomical Photography and Celestial Painting in Meiji Japan 

Scientific photographs of celestial objects (mostly the moon and the sun) have been important subjects in the Meiji Japan, as part of the scientific revolution taking place at the time. Yet, the images of the moon and sun were a common theme in Japanese painting of the late 18th and 19th century, notably, descriptions of the hazy moon became ubiquitous and popular through the 18th century. Yet, when photography came to Japan in 1848, several practitioners attempted to make use of the new apparatus to catch the moonbeams on light-sensitive plates, in a manner that echoed the painterly practice of the previous century. Later, this practice had also expanded into the photography of the sun, especially the sun in eclipse, reflecting the high methodical value and importance for the scientific community of Europe and the USA, as special delegations travelled to Japan to be able to catch on films these moments of the solar obscurity. 
This paper is set to discuss the exchange between scientific images and artistic expressions of the moon and sun images in Japan during the Meiji era, discussing the negotiations between scientific approaches of documentation and data collection, and artistic expression of high individual interpretation, I argue that photography became the conjunction point between scientific and artistic discourses. I will show how Japanese practitioners perceived and designed the lunar and solar eclipse photographs, not just as documents of scientific proof and astronomical evidence, but also designed the data collected into a cultural framework that positioned these images in reference to the painterly traditions of Japan. Currently, there is only minimal discussion of moon images in painting, and few references to astronomical photography in Japan, none of which is in English. Photographers to be discussed include: Esaki Reiji, Sugiyama Masaji, Kimura Tōta, and Shiina Sukemasa, among others.

Fig. 1
Shiina Sukemasa 
Sun Eclipse
Meiji 27 (1894) 
18 X 24 cm. + paper frame
Courtesy Hokkaidō Prefectural Library, Ebetsu, Japan
Fig. 2 
Kimura Tōta
Full eclipse in Kushiro
Carte de visite 8.9 X 5.4 cm 
Courtesy Kushiro Municipal Library, Kushiro, Japan

Crafting China through Photographs. Francis E. Stafford’s Vision of the Commercial Press and the 1911 Revolution.

Giulia Pra Floriani
Heidelberg University, Germany
The Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies, Germany

Crafting China through Photographs. Francis E. Stafford’s Vision of the Commercial Press and the 1911 Revolution

Although foreign travellers had first employed photography to create a stereotypical image of China suitable to their imperial perspective, members of the colonised society later used the same technology to further the local political agenda. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, technological advance and intellectual shifts allowed photography to abandon depictions of China as subaltern and frozen in the past, in favour of representations of a modern nation projected in the future. 
Francis E. Stafford (1884-1938), who worked at the Shanghai Commercial Press as a photojournalist and print technologies instructor between 1909 and 1915, was one of the knowledge intermediaries who contributed to the process. His work capturing the events of the 1911 Republican Revolution was widely circulated in the local republican and reformist press. By considering the revolutionary images born out of the collaborative work of local and foreign technicians and editors and the technical devices employed in their production, this paper aims to enhance the transcultural dimension of photographic practices. That is to say, I aim to illustrate the instable and variable position of photographs existing in between the categories of “colonial” and “indigenous,” “propagandistic” and “journalistic” in early twentieth century China. 

Francis E. Stafford photographs
Box 1, Album C, Photographs of the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and the Shanghai Commercial Press
Courtesy Hoover Institution Library & Archives, copyright Stanford University

Stillness and Time: “Shanghai of Today”.

Yupin Chung
Burrell Collection, Glasgow, the United Kingdom
University of Glasgow, the United Kingdom

Stillness and Time: “Shanghai of Today”

Shanghai, as one of China's vital trading ports, has long had contact with a number of countries, especially from the Western world. Travellers from the West headed to the Far East and found their way to Shanghai. Some came to colonise, some to find converts to Christianity, some to make money. Others came to explore, or to study and work. Some photographed what they saw and experienced. Many of these photographs are invaluable images for those who wish to appreciate Shanghai’s moment and its place in the world.

What would photographs be without propaganda? How much does an image reflect its public relations and culture? What is special about photography in Shanghai? This paper will explore the use of photographs from “Shanghai of Today”, published in the 1920s, and will look in some details at what is a rare limited edition souvenir album of fifty van dyke prints of “The Model Settlement”, published by Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh. It is a snapshot of an emerging metropolis, a forerunner of the dynamic Shanghai we see today, a century after the album was published.

A view of the Shanghai Bund showing the massive buildings erected on what was formerly mud-flats 
© 2021 Yupin Chung. All Rights Reserved


day 3

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Please note that all times are Prague local time (CEST/GMT+2)

14:00–14:45 Keynote Speech IV

Photography and the Taiping Rebellion.

Terry Bennett
Independent scholar, the United Kingdom

Photography and the Taiping Rebellion
In China, the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) was the bloodiest civil war in world history, claiming some 20 million lives. And yet, outside of the country, the conflict is little known or understood. Although there are a handful of surviving photographs related to these events, they were taken by foreigners fighting alongside the Imperial Qing forces. No photographs taken from a Taiping perspective, or portraits of Taiping military personnel, appeared to have survived. However, the author recently discovered two striking portraits, and their existence raises new questions about the relationships between the Taiping and foreign actors. The fact that they have survived is down to a serendipitous convergence of circumstances which this paper will discuss. The photographs are obviously of considerable historical importance. By 1861, Taiping armies had control of much of southern China. In December of that year, they attacked and occupied Ningbo and were there until Imperial forces ejected them in May 1862. In Ningbo, certain Taiping military officials engaged in social contact with the City's foreign residents. George Hart, one of the leading foreign merchants, invited Taiping representatives to his home, where he photographed them.

George Hart (attributed)
Taiping General
Salted Print Photograph
Terry Bennett Collection

15:00–17:30 Panel IV

New Views – Unknown vs. Famous in Asian Photography
Chair: Terry Bennett

The Photographic Image in China: More than One Life, More than One History.

Oliver Moore
University of Groningen, Netherlands
The Photographic image in China: more than one life, more than one history

The richness of photography’s theorization in China contends with a poverty of analytical distinctions. One common Western theorization of the photograph portrait supercharges its status as a biographical fixed point, an unrepeatable performance. Roland Barthes dramatized this obsession with the singular chronotope as the visual subject’s “death” and the image’s fatalité. This paper explores two considerations that divert from these much cited premises of photography’s western discourse. First, the users and distributors of photographs in China often subverted any assumption that the image represented a terminal status, so much so that it is more sensible to recognize photographs in China not as Barthesian foreclosures, but rather as initiations of further optical and graphic procedures, e.g. re-exposure, enlargement, miniaturization, tinting, overpainting, inscription, superscription (among many paratextual additions), and even propitiatory objects of the new sensory enhancements of touch and smell, e.g. luxurious materials and scent. 
Second, if these astonishing diagnostics are valid, then they demand also that the photograph’s incremental, diverging and multiple categories of status be recognized as powerful disruptors of what archives both in- and outside China tend to homogenize none too subtly as images’ single lifespans of authenticity, authority and referentiality. Pairing these two considerations can contribute significantly to the larger point of qualifying the history and theorization of photography in China with its particularities.

Unknown studio
Unknown subjects posed with an enlarged family portrait featuring the male sitter in infancy with his parents 
Late 1950s
Courtesy Tan Jintu Archive, Suzhou

Ornamental Streets and Ambivalent Subjects: Historiographical Reflections on Photographs and Artworks between East Asian and European Archives.

Freya Schwachenwald
Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Kunstwissenschaft und Historische Urbanistik, Berlin, Germany

Ornamental Streets and Ambivalent Subjects: Historiographical Reflections on Photographs and Artworks between East Asian and European Archives

This paper traces the relationship of European practices of travel art and photography with local practices of photography in the Pearl River Delta, Southern China, in the mid-19th century, as well as the historiographical practices related to these images. It takes a critical perspective on the availability of narratives and subjectivities in today’s archives and markets of travel, trade art and early photography. As a case study, it analyses different street views of China (photographs and watercolors) produced by Austrian, German and Chinese artists and photographers around the mid-19th century. It traces the proximity of their visual conventions and processes of (self-)stereotyping across media, the diverging social, commercial, aesthetic and epistemological interests invested into these images, as well as the histories of the images as traveling objects between Western and East Asian institutions and markets. The challenge of such an approach – the often-lamented lack of reliable archival sources, the gaps and silences of archives – is taken as a point of departure to reflect on the conditions of art historical research on early photography in East Asia. 
This paper argues that the lack of documentation is connected to specific, racializing concepts of human subjectivity and artistic creativity. It reflects, on the one hand, on the reliance on and dominance of European travel accounts – including their processes of racialization and stereotyping – in historical research on early photography in East Asia. On the other hand, it reflects on the availability of Chinese sources and epistemological differences in the conceptualization of the photographers and artists as subjects.

Lai Fong
Canton. Commercial street view
Ca. 1880
Albumen print
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Syasin Makie of Mizuno Hanbeh: Unique Reproductions or Something Else?

Celio Barreto
Seneca College of Applied Art and Technology, Toronto, Canada 
University of Guelph-Humber, Toronto, Canada

The Syasin Makie of Mizuno Hanbeh: Unique Reproductions or Something Else?

This paper offers a more complete understanding of Meiji-era Yokohama Photographer Mizuno Hanbeh’s gold photographs on lacquer process, through the physical examination of surviving specimens in the public collections of The Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Special Collections Museum in the United Kingdom, the Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum Landesmuseum Zürich and the Museo Delle Cultura Lugano in Swizerland, and in the private collections of John Marriage, Anthony Richards in The United Kingdom and the author in Toronto. 
While syasin maki-e are often dismissed as just a dust-on process and a merely decorative object, this study’s detailed observations of the effects of mechanisms of physical, organic and chemical deterioration on these objects reveal new insights on their production, storage, care and display. These syasin maki-e challenge their own classification as either reproduction or original, expressive artistic medium or patented production process, and therefore require a clear understanding of the maki-e process itself. In addition, contemporary and historical documents indicate the Mizuno process’ likely influence on the development of the orotone process across the Pacific Ocean, in the United States. In conclusion, this paper’s findings encourage the reframing of Mizuno’s process as a material manifestation indexical of Japan’s intense process of modernization, international integration, artistic and technological influencer from about 1890 to 1920. 

Mizuno Hanbeh 
Gold powder on Urushi lacquer, 写真蒔絵
Ca 1900 
Author’s collection, Copyright 2021

...Sometimes I get tired, but I think the cause of tiredness is my years — my 55 years are already over – The Far East Through the Eyes of Agnia Diness.

Ekaterina B. Tolmacheva and Polina Rud
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia

"...Sometimes I get tired, but I think the cause of tiredness is my years — my 55 years are already over" – The Far East through the eyes of Agnia Diness
The presentation is dedicated to the collections of photographic documents received by the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) in 1905 and 1946. Photographer A. Diness between 1890 and 1905 and represent different regions of the Russian Far East, Korea, and northern China, including the capital city Beijing, produced the photographic documents.

The uniqueness of these materials consists not only of the fact that the collection of original large-format negatives has more than 700 pieces but also of the fact that they were made by one of the first women professional photographers of the Russian Empire. She photographed architectural and historical sights, filming warships, railways and recorded various cultural features of the indigenous peoples of the Far East.

  The presentation examines the history and technology of the researcher's work, the author's style, and approach to the choice of objects. Individual technic of photo work allowed to carry out attribution of images and distinguished author's work among controversial photographic documents. The processing of the collections allowed to establish several dates and locations for photographs, which were absent in museum documents.

The result of the study was the analysis and publication of little-known photographic documents of Diness, whose personality has increasingly attracted researchers in recent years.

A. Dines
Manchu official family
Photography glass plate
North China, с.1905
Courtesy Collection of MAE RAS

Traveling Photographic Collections: The Case of Juan Mencarini.

Xavier Ortells-Nicolau
Adjunct professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and English Studies at Universitat de Barcelona

Traveling photographic collections: the case of Juan Mencarini

This presentation will comment on the history of a significant collection of photographs of China by a Spanish amateur photographer, Juan Mencarini. The presentation will summarize Mencarini's life and professional career as an employee of the Imperial Customs and contextualize his photographs and the reception of his contemporaries. Particular attention will be paid to the context of the creation of his most comprehensive corpus of images, included in two albums created at the behest of the French consul in Fuzhou in 1895, currently preserved in Paris and Lille. In addition, the presentation will comment on the process to locate Mencarini's images around the world, which suppose an example of collaboration among scholars.

The Mencarini collection is an example of challenges researchers face in early photography in China, particularly the photography by amateurs. Starting from the context of production, distribution, and preservation of Mencarini's photographs, the presentation will underscore the significance of networks of commercial and diplomatic interests and personal affinities in identifying, locating, and contextualizing similar photographic production. In that sense, it might be of interest for anyone working on early photography of China by foreigners.

Juan Mencarini 
'Pavilion at Kushan Monastery - Dr. Gracey'
Ca. 1894 
Gelatin silver print, 13 x 19 cm, album 21 x 28 cm
Courtesy of Harvard Yenching-Library


17:30–18:00 Closing Remarks



Terry Bennett is a London-based British writer and photo-historian. He has specialized in the collection and research of nineteenth-century East and Southeast Asian photography for more than forty years, and is recognised as a world authority on the subject. He has lectured in the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Vietnam and Europe and has written numerous articles and is writer or co-writer of twelve books. His books include Early Japanese Images (Tuttle, 1996), Japan: Caught in Time with Hugh Cortazzi (1996), Korea: Caught in Time (1997), The Illustrated London News: Complete Record of the Opening and Modernizing of Japan, 1853-1899 (2006), Photography in Japan 1853-1912 (2006), and Old Japanese Photographs: Collectors‘ Data Guide (2006). Following earlier work on Japan and Korea, his 3-volume work History of Photography in China (2009-2013) was translated into Chinese and is considered the essential text on the subject. Early Photography in Vietnam (2020) is his first Indo-China focussed book.

Luke Gartlan is Senior Lecturer in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He is the author of A Career of Japan: Baron Raimund von Stillfried and Early Yokohama Photography (2016), which was awarded the Josef Kreiner Prize by Hosei University, Tokyo; and has co-edited two volumes of essays: with Ali Behdad, Photography’s Orientalism: New Essays on Colonial Representation (Getty Publications, 2013); and with Roberta Wue, Portraiture and Early Studio Photography in China and Japan (Routledge, 2017). He also served for six years as editor-in-chief of the international quarterly journal History of Photography. 

Burglind Jungmann is professor emerita at UCLA and adjunct research fellow at Heidelberg University. In 1999 she established the first graduate program of Korean art history in the USA and taught until 2017. Jungmann studied East Asian art history at Heidelberg University and at Seoul National University and received her Ph.D. (1988) and her second doctorate (Habilitation, 1996) from Heidelberg University. She wrote numerous articles and books on Chosŏn dynasty art, including Painters as Envoys (2004) and Pathways to Korean Culture (2014). She is also a coeditor, together with J.P. Park und Juhyung Rhi, of A Companion to Korean Art (2020).  

Filip Suchomel is Prague-born art historian and Japanologist, graduate of Charles University in Prague, currently a professor at the Technical University in Liberec and senior research fellow at Charles University in Prague and Moravian Gallery in Brno. In his professional work, he focuses on research of Japanese and Chinese art, with special emphasis on cultural exchange between the East and the West. In the long term, he is working with collections of Chinese and Japanese art in Czech museums, castles, and châteaux. He is the author of many publications including the extensive monographs Masterpieces of Japanese Porcelain (1997), Surface Created for Decoration – Japanese lacquerware 1600–1900 (2002), Journal of a Voyage – The Erwin Dubsky Collection: Photographs from Japan in the 1870s (2006), …And the Chinese Cliffs Emerged out of the Mist – Perception and Image of China in Early Photographs (2011), 300 Treasures. Chinese porcelain from Wallenstein, Schwarzenberg and Lichnowsky collections (2015) and Shashin, shashin!! Japanese photography in the 19th century (2019). Together with his wife, he is preparing for the publication of the annotated translation of Erwin Dubsky’s travel diary (due to be published in January 2022). He has organized a number of exhibitions focusing on traditional and modern Japanese and Chinese art. In 1994/1995 and 2002/2003 he was a two-time Japan Foundation fellow. Currently, he is a member of the group of specialists analysing Japanese porcelain from the August the Strong collection in the Kunstsammlungen in Dresden. He is currently working on a project mapping Japanese pottery and porcelain of the 19th and 20th centuries.


Toronto-based educator, photographic history researcher and Ryerson University’s Film & Photographic Preservation and Collections Management Masters program graduate. He is both a professor in the School of English and Liberal Studies at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto, and a Ph.D, student at De Montfort University’s Photographic History Research Centre in Leicester, U.K.. Barreto‘s research focuses on the reciprocal influences of photographic practices and cultural values in the late Meiji period Japan. In 2016 as FPPCM student collections manager in The Royal Ontario Museum’s Asian Art and Culture collection, Barreto found a rare, unidentified and uncatalogued example of a silver metallic photographic image on a 19th c. Japanese Souvenir Album cover. His material analysis using digital photomicrography and historical research to positively identify and catalog this object was published in Photographica World, in late 2017. Barreto has been elected Programme Director at the  Photographic Historical Society of Canada, and since 2018 has been presenting his research at international conferences in Europe, The Middle East and North America, and given several lectures and presentations at historical societies in and outside of Canada.

Helena Čapková is a Tokyo/Kyoto/Prague-based curator, researcher, and art history professor at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. She studied transnational visual culture and Japanese studies in Prague and London. Already as a PhD candidate, she collaborated on international and interdisciplinary research projects such as Forgotten Japonisme (2007-2010) and later Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Modernism and the Arts, c.1875-1960 (2013-2015). Since 2010, she has published and lectured extensively about the specific nature of Japanese modernism and avant garde that she considers as an inherent part of art history, traditionally perceived as Western. Her publications on this topic include: Transnational networkers – Iwao and Michiko Yamawaki and the formation of Japanese Modernist Design (Oxford Journal of Design History, 2014), „Careless Shell “– Transnational exploration of Czechoslovak and Japanese Surrealisme (2015) and "Believe in socialism …" - architect Bedřich Feuerstein and his perspective on modern Japan and architecture (2016). In 2017-2019, Helena Čapková worked as a curatorial researcher for the bauhaus imaginista project. For the past several years she has curated events together with the Czech Centre in Tokyo, ranging from exhibitions, talks and screenings. The discussion series about Czech-American architect Antonin Raymond, his way of working and reasons for his success in Japan is currently being prepared for a bilingual, Czech-Japanese publication – Antonin Raymond in Japan, 1948-1976; his collaborators' perspective was published in 2019. She publishes for academic audiences and the general public in English, Chinese, Czech and Japanese.

Art historian, museologist and tea connoisseur, currently a curator at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow and an honorary senior research fellow at the University of Glasgow, advisor to several museums and galleries in China. Research areas include specialising in 19th century photography in China and 'Chinatown', history of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, oriental design influences in the Western world, East Asian Art into Western museum exhibitions and collections, and the visual culture of tea.

Curated in 2011 a major exhibition in Glasgow, “China Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872”; this was devoted to images of China taken by the Scottish photographer and traveller John Thomson. Commissioned by Glasgow Museums. Yupin worked on a short film “Motes of Living Light” (2011) in cooperation with Thomas Jacobi (Artist), David Greygoose (Poet) and Eddie McGuire (Composer). In 2009-2010, her postcard project “Chinese Stories”, supported by the City of Liverpool, Arts Council England, explored the everyday life of a “Chinatown”, widening dialogues between a curator and the Chinese community. She is currently curating an exhibition entitled “The Burrell at Kelvingrove: Collecting Chinese Treasures” and is principally involved in the redevelopment of the Burrell Collection ahead of its public reopening in March 2022.

Hungarian art historian and Japanologist, a graduate from Eötvös Loránd University and
Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Budapest. Since 2015 she has been
curating the Japanese art collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts in Budapest.
Besides the management of ca. 8000 items, she focuses her research on the histories of
collecting Japanese art (especially that of the Meiji-era) in Hungary, an on Japonisme. She
curated In Search of Prince Genji – Japan in Words and Images (2015), Geishas by the
Danube – The Influence of Japanese Culture on Hungarian Art (2016), The Call of the East
(2020) and authored and edited books related to the above exhibitions. She organized the
international conference Japonisme in Global and Local Context (2017), and managed an
international research group which published Japonisme in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
(2020). Currently, she is working on a two-volume publication project about Japan-themed
images in the early Hungarian press, and on her PhD thesis, The Interconnectedness of
Japanese artefacts and objects of Japinisme in Dr Ottó Fettick’s collection. She has been a
Japan Foundation fellow in 2019 and she is about to embark on a Research Scholarship
project sponsored by MEXT.

A UK-based independent scholar, Dobson graduated in Modern History from Durham University and pursued his postgraduate study at Cambridge University before being awarded a Monbushō Research Scholarship in 1989 to study in Japan. Since 2001, he has been operating as a specialist dealer in nineteenth-century photography. His research has focused mainly on the history of photography in Japan during the Bakumatsu and Meiji eras, and his publications include the monograph Under Eagle Eyes: Lithographs, Drawings and Photographs from the Prussian Expedition to Japan (Munich, 2012, co-authored with Sven Saaler), articles, reviews, and contributions to The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford, 2005) and The Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography (New York/London, 2007). Dobson has also collaborated on exhibitions of nineteenth-century photography at institutions in the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan. His most recent publications are a biographical essay and commentary accompanying a modern facsimile of a carte-de-visite album by Shimooka Renjō (Tokyo, Shashasha) and Japan 1900: A Portrait in Color (Cologne, Taschen, co-authored with Sabine Arqué), both of which were published earlier this year.

Frank Feltens is Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. He holds a PhD in Japanese art history from Columbia University and is a specialist in Japanese art with a focus on the early modern and modern periods. He also maintains research interests in Japanese photography and the intersections between painting and ceramics. Feltens has published and lectured on a range of topics related to Japanese art. Recent articles examine the painters Ogata Kōrin and Sakai Hōitsu, and the photographer Domon Ken. He has also published the book Hokusai’s Brush (Seigensha, 2018; Smithsonian Books, 2020) and co-edited with Ayelet Zohar a special issue of Review of Japanese Culture and Society on Heisei-era photography. Prior to coming to the Freer and Sackler, he held research positions at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Asian Art in Berlin and the Nezu Museum and the temple Sensōji in Tokyo. His recent book Ogata Kōrin: Art in Early Modern Japan is available with Yale University Press.

Giulia Pra Floriani is a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute of East Asian Art History at Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies. She is interested in the unfolding of the practices of photography in East Asia and their conceptualization in current scholarship. Her doctoral project investigates the use of photographic images in the Sinophone revolutionary press at the turn of the twentieth century. She holds a bachelor degree from Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, a master's degree in Chinese Language and Culture from Xi'an Jiao tong University and a master's degree in Art History from Peking University. Giulia has worked as a curator of contemporary photography in Pingyao, Dali, and Xi’an, China, and has contributed to catalogs of contemporary art exhibitions in Europe including The new frontiers of paintings (2017) and Contemporary Chaos (2018). She is administrative and editorial assistant for the volume Ink meets Oil: Chinese Artists Trained in Europe (1920-1945) (Leiden and Boston: BRILL, 2022), conceived in the frame of the Getty project “Connecting Art Histories,” and edited by Sarah E. Fraser and Shen Kuiyi.

Born and raised in Paris, graduated from Paris Sorbonne in contemporary history and Paris 8 St-Denis, in information sciences. She is currently an information scientist focused on databases at the INHA (Institut national de l’histoire de l’art, Paris).

Asia and Indochina crossed her carreer several times, first when she worked for a publication of ministry of foreign affaires (Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Paris) : the Documents diplomatiques français, from 1995 to 2005. She has worked for several art and history museums until she joined the Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet, in 2015. 
Her interest for family pictures started when she organized and identified her family photos and archives, now given to public collections. 

Oliver Moore is a professor of Chinese Language and Culture at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. He studied at the universities of London, Cambridge and Fudan (Shanghai), taught at the universities of Leiden and Kyoto, and curated collections of Chinese art and material culture at the British Museum and the Dutch National Museum of Ethnology. He is the author of the volume Chinese (2000) in the British Museum Reading the Past series, and of Rituals of Recruitment in Tang China (2004), a social history of early Chinese civil service examinations, and of essays on art and science in China. His next book Photography in China: Science, Commerce and Communication (late 2021) is a study of photography’s early concepts and practices in China.

Rebeca Gómez Morilla received her MA in Japanese studies, East Asian Art History, and Comparative Literature from the University of Zurich in 2016. Since 2011 she has researched numerous East Asian art collections in Switzerland, covering a wide array of materials, including Japanese prints, ceramics, enamel, netsuke and inro, textiles, and photographs. She has completed several internships at Swiss museums, including at the Swiss National Museum and the Musées d’art et d’histoire Genève. In Geneva, she assisted on a Kabuki print exhibition, La geste suspendu. In 2014 she curated three exhibitions – Entdeckerlust, Hiroshige & Kunisada, and Collecting Japan – with the East Asian collection of the Ethnographic Museum in Burgdorf. She was also co-editor of the catalogue for the Entdeckerlust exhibition. Some of her research interests include Japanese woodblock prints, East Asian photography, colonialism, Japanese popular culture, as well as feminist and queer art history. Her dissertation on Swiss photograph collections from Colonial Korea focuses on the formative role of gender, nation, and Race in the formation of Japanese, Korean and Swiss identity through a postcolonial and feminist lens. Her research is supported by the Candoc Grant (University of Zurich).

Xavier Ortells-Nicolau is an adjunct professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and English Studies at Universitat de Barcelona. His research focuses on modern and contemporary photography in China and Sino-Spanish relations in the 19th to 20th centuries. As a member of the research group ALTER (UOC), he has located and digitalized different collections of photography obtained in China by Spanish photographers at the turn of the 20th century. In addition to publications (“Juan Mencarini and Amateur Photography in Fin-de-siècle China”, Kritika Kultura, 30/31, 2018), his research on Juan Mencarini has been presented in several exhibitions and other collaborative projects in digital platforms, such as the China-Spain Archive ( http://ace.uoc.edu/ ).

Saint-Petersburg-born, a graduate from the faculty of Oriental studies of Saint-Petersburg State University (2007), currently a junior research fellow of the Department of East and Southeast Asia Studies of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography Russian Academy of Sciences. Her scientific interests concern the study of the history of the Chinese collections of the MAE RAS from the moment of the museum foundation to the beginning of the 20th century. Polina is the curator of the MAE collection of Chinese illustrative materials on China and Southeast Asia and has several publications on the attribution of commercial photographs from the MAE collection. Her main work in the museum is focused on the study of the visual sources of the MAE - collections of Chinese popular prints from the second half of the 19th century, paintings from everyday life in Beijing in the first half of the 19th century, and export paintings from the south China region at the end of the 19th century. For many years of work in the museum, Polina has been the organizer of several exhibitions on the culture of China and Korea.

Graduate Student at Technische Universität Berlin (Germany) under the supervision of Professor Bénédicte Savoy and Fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. Her dissertation “Visions of the East. Art, Science and Nation Building in the works of Germanophone traveling artists in the 19th century” investigates works by artists and photographers traveling through East Asia in the 1850s and 1860s and the hauntings of imperialism and racism in German art history and museums. She has published in the Journal of Transcultural Studies and the Global History Student Journal. From 2018 to 2019, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Department for the History of Art at Yale University, USA. She holds an M.A. in Transcultural Studies from Heidelberg University and a B.A. in European Media Culture from Bauhaus-University Weimar and Université Lumière Lyon 2 (France). Her Master’s thesis on historiography, aesthetics and critical race theory around historical narratives of Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871) has been awarded the Dr. Gregorius Mättig Award. As an activist in the fields of critical peace building, diversity and literature, she has held lectures and seminars across Asia, South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. 

St. Peterburg-born ethnographer and photography historian, a graduate from St. Petersburg State University, currently Head of the Laboratory of Audiovisual Anthropology, Senior Researcher of the Laboratory of museum technologies, Curator of the photocollection of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) MAE RAS. Her focal areas of work are researching in the theory and practice of creating, keeping, using, studying audiovisual documents and organizing digital data archive. 
She is the author of different articles about the history of ethnography photography, the technology of early expedition photofixation, peculiarities of collecting the Archeology, Physical Anthropology and Ethnography photography in the state funds such as: Images of Japanese culture in photographs. The history of early collections of the MAE RAS (2014), Features of the formation of a scientific ethnographic photo archive (on the example of the photo collection of the MAE RAS (2014), Portrait-anthropological photography: towards the history of the development of shooting methods and the formation of collections (2014), Early field photography and visual documents of northern indigenous cultures Ivan Poliakov’s collection, 1876 (2017), Stereo photography as a visualization of space: a document for dimensions or the magic of three-dimensional presence? (2017). She has organized the exhibition: Early stereophotography as a way of fixing culture. East Turkestan expedition of 1909-1910 in the photographs by S.M. Dudin, which represent the stereophoto both as first technology of perception of three-dimensional visualization and a specific method of scientific registration of culture. 

Stefano Turina is a Ph.D. student at the Università di Torino. He is currently investigating the artistic and cultural exchanges between Italy and Japan during the 1950s and 1960s. He published an essay on today's lost collection of Japanese and Chinese objects gathered by Giglioli during the first Italian diplomatic mission to Japan in 1866 (2018). He is also conducting research on the role of the Italian silkworm eggs merchants in the import Europe of Japanese objects. On this topic, he has recently published an essay (2021). In addition, he is the author of two essays in the volume Japonisme in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (2020) on the tea shops selling Japanese objects in the Monarchy and on the diffusion of a certain image of Japan through magazines and books in the second half of the 19th Century.

He is a member of the AISTUGIA (Associazione Italiana Studi Giapponesi, Florence) and the Society for the Study of Japonisme (Tokyo).

Bing Wang is a Ph.D. candidate from the Art History Program joint between Case Western Reserve University and The Cleveland Museum of Art in the United States of America. She also serves as the Cataloguing and Research Assistant for Photography and Chinese Art at the Peabody Essex Museum. Her current research interests are the artistic, technical, and commercial contexts of photography in Greater China during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her dissertation on the British photographer William Pryor Floyd (1834–ca. 1900) and his studio in Hong Kong will be the first book-length scholarly assessment of this long-overlooked photographer and his elegant works.

Tel Aviv-born art historian and Japanologist, a graduate from University of London (UCL)(2007), currently a Senior Lecturer at the Art History Dept. Tel Aviv University. In her professional work, she focuses on the research of Japanese photography, with special emphasis on contemporary practices and critical theory relevant to the analysis. In the long term, she is working on research concerning an alternative view of Japanese Photography History, a project on Heisei Photography, and a manuscript on war memory in contemporary Japanese photography. Zohar is the author of numerous publications, including the forthcoming edited volume (with Alison Miller) The Visual Culture of Meiji Japan: Transition to Modernity (London and New York: Routledge, Nov. 2021), and a monograph titled: The Curious Case of the Camel in Japan: Colonialism, Orientalism, and Asia in the Japanese Imagination (Leiden: Brill, 2022). Zohar is the Guest Editor (with Frank Feltens), of the special issue of Review of Japanese Culture and Society (Vol. 31, 2019) and the Lead Editor of Post-Photography, Critical Images: Heisei Photography in an Era of Crisis and New Opportunities (co-edited with Franz Prichard and Miya Mizuta Lippit). She is also working on a new monograph, tentatively titled Parallax Memory, Performative Recollection: Wartime Images in Contemporary Japanese Video Art. Zohar’s articles were published in prestigious journals such as Theory, Culture and Society; positions: asia critique; Trans Asia Photography Review; Third Text; N Paradoxa; Review of Japanese Culture and Society; The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and numerous anthologies dedicated to different issues in Japan’s visual culture. Zohar organized two grand scale Japanese exhibitions: PostGender: Gender, Sexuality and Performativity in Japanese Art for the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art in Haifa, Israel (2005); and Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Repressed Wartime Memory, the Performative and the Documentary in Contemporary Japanese Photography and Video Art at the Genia Schreiber Tel Aviv University Art Gallery (2015). Both exhibitions had extensive catalogues with contributions by various authors included. Zohar had received the Japan Foundation Grant for Research at Hokkaidō University (2012), the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) Personal Grant for Research on her forthcoming book (2016-2021), and the Ishibashi Grant for Research in Japanese Art at Nichibunken, Kyoto (2021-2022).


● Filip Suchomel
● Olga Lomová


● Eliška Dušková
● Laura Maternová
● Jáchym Suchomel

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