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Britain's Chinese EyeLiterature, Empire, and Aesthetics in Nineteenth-Century Britain$
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Elizabeth Hope Chang

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759458

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759458.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 04 April 2020

Photograph

Photograph

Chapter:
(p.141) Four Photograph
Source:
Britain's Chinese Eye
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804759458.003.0005

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.

Keywords:   photographs, photography, China, Chinese aesthetic, Victorians, Chinese eye, vision

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