This chapter considers how photography sought to erase the effects of the Chinese aesthetic by claiming to make China real, and argues that, given the camera operator's embodiment of this preceding visual history, such erasure can never fully succeed. The idea of the Chinese eye is used to revisit the rise of photographic ways of seeing in the nineteenth century. The invention of photography, once held to initiate a radical break in nineteenth-century ways of seeing, has been explained by Jonathan Crary and Nancy Armstrong as marking instead a confirmation of already established visual practice. Rather than adjusting their vision to resemble the photograph, Victorians adjusted photographs to resemble their vision. So too did delineations of Chinese difference prepare the way for incorporations of that difference.
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