George R. West and his Lost Portfolios: the Beginning of Photography in China
Sunday 4th of December 2011 at 10.30 h
Auditorium of Royal Museums of Art and History
Jubelpark 10 Parc du Cinquantenaire
Brussel 1000 Bruxelles
The short but adventurous career of George R. West (c.1825-1859) offers a fascinating
insight into the opportunities, not to mention the limitations and dangers, faced by early
photographers in China. Between 1844 and 1846, this hitherto little-known American artist
visited Macao, Guangzhou and Hong Kong with a daguerreotype camera, and although recent
research has finally confirmed West’s place in the history of photography as the first
commercial photographer in China, the exact nature of his activity remains unknown. This
obscurity can be explained partly by the disappearance of West’s first portfolio during its
transit to the United States, but mainly, as this lecture will reveal, by a second, more
disastrous setback which put an end to his photographic career altogether.
Sebastian Dobson is an independent scholar of the history of photography based in Antwerp.
His recent publications include contributions to Art and Artifice: Japanese Photographs of
the Meiji Era (2004) and A Much Recorded War: The Russo-Japanese War in History and
Imagery (2005), both published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as entries in The
Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford University Press, 2005) and Encyclopedia of
Nineteenth Century Photography (Routledge, 2007).
In collaboration with ECD Royal Museums of Art and History
6€ / 5€ – Free entrance for members BIHCS/IBHEC, VED and Per Musea
Read Full Post »