Stock Photos: Family, the Mundane and Colonial Visualization in Twentieth-Century Hong Kong

Briony Widdis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article analyzes a collection of photographs that belonged to Douglas Crozier, Hong Kong Director of Education from 1951 to 1961. These include 879 professional photographs produced in print form for publicity purposes and 1167 slide photos. I demonstrate how photographic prints were part of the official record. These were circulated to reinforce Sino-British exchanges in pursuit of diplomatic aims, and are thus valuable sources on behavioral protocols in British and élite Chinese social networks. The slides, which were taken by Crozier and his family, are by contrast vernacular images, revealing the functioning of the imperial gaze in domestic space. Photography in both forms was intrinsic to capitalist lifestyles in late colonial Hong Kong. However, images from the period have been under-researched. Reasons for their neglect include the degree to which they now implicate those who own them in colonialism, and the fact that the apparent mundanity of vernacular shots conceals their value as sources for the study of colonial photography as a genre. Through close examination of the apparent indifference to Douglas Crozier’s photographs of those who inherited them, this article tackles this imbalance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-195
JournalThe Chinese Historical Review
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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