Curator Betty Yao and Studies in Photography Chair, Alexander Hamilton discuss the exhibition.
As part of the John Thomson centenary celebrations of 2021 we are delighted to have been given the opportunity to present some beautifully created prints of his work.
The prints, created for the "China Through the Lens of John Thomson" exhibition which is currently on display at Herriot Watt University's Edinburgh Campus bring a new perspective to Thomson's magnificent processes and allow an insight into life in China over 150 years ago.
The images are created from state of the art digitisations of Thomson's glass negatives which were purchased by Sir Henry S. Wellcome in 1920.
Thomson's approach allowed him to photograph everyone, from the King of Siam to the street traders and working women and he did so with an open mind, and a sensitivity to people's situations and surroundings which made him one of the most important photographers of his time, and this one of the most impressive examples of early documentary photography that exists. in 1920, provide a scale which shows the detail and accuracy of Thomson's photographic techniques in a way which allows for an engaging interaction with the people and landscapes of 19th Century China.
In the words of Betty Yao, Curator and Organiser of China Through the Lens of John Thomson:
"John Thomson was a remarkable person – a photographer, a traveller, a writer and a teacher, whose work, as you will see, still speaks to us after 150 years.
He went to China as a professional photographer, in an era when most westerners who went to China were either government officials, traders or missionaries. Some of them also took photographs but they were amateurs. Thomson’s work stood out and has endured because of their exceptional quality."
Please be aware that the Studies in Photography office is not always supervised, however the building is open from Monday to Saturday and the prints are placed throughout the building.
525 Ferry Road
Please be aware that COVID-19 regulations must be adhered to throughout.