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The ‘Occupied Lens’ in Wartime China: Portrait Photography in the Service of Chinese ‘Collaboration’, 1939–1945

Taylor, Jeremy E.

The ‘Occupied Lens’ in Wartime China: Portrait Photography in the Service of Chinese ‘Collaboration’, 1939–1945 Thumbnail


Professor of Modern History


This paper explores the importance of portrait photography to the wartime collaborationist regime of Wang Jingwei, which governed parts of Japanese-occupied China from 1940 to 1945. It demonstrates how, for a combination of practical, political and cultural reasons, studio portraiture was chosen as one of the primary forms of media for the propagation of iconography by this administration. Studio portraiture was also, however, a realm in which this Chinese regime sought to stamp its own mark on visual culture, separate from the iconography of the occupying Japanese. This paper demonstrates this by tracing the origins and fate of a number of widely-circulated studio portraits of Wang taken in 1939, 1940, and 1941. This paper also speculates about the possibility of identifying and defining an 'occupied lens' during the war, 1 one which was clearly derivative of prewar forms, yet evolved in ways which set it apart both from Japanese propaganda, and from the visual culture of resistance.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 8, 2019
Online Publication Date Oct 17, 2019
Publication Date Oct 17, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 23, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 18, 2021
Journal History of Photography
Print ISSN 0308-7298
Electronic ISSN 2150-7295
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 3
Pages 284-307
Keywords China; Japan; foreign occupation; war; studio photography; portraits; leaders; Wang Jingwei (1883-1944); Bann's Studio [Guangyi zhaoxiangguan]; Liang Boping
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:; Published: 2019-10-17


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