Research Centre

The China International Photography Research Centre


Soon after the invention of photography in 1839 western photographers arrived in China to document what they regarded as an accessible exotic culture. Ever since there has been a steady flow of international photographers passing through China creating a valuable visual document of the country but in most cases returning with their pictures to the countries from where they came. The vast majority of documentary photography of China in the 19th century and between 1949 and 1976 (when the new communist government placed strict regulations on domestic photographers) exists in western museums, private collections and publication archives.

The west also has little understanding of Chinese photography as almost all published research on the subject is written in Chinese. China today has the fastest growing amateur and professional photography sectors in the world yet little is known outside its borders.

The China International Photography Research Centre’s aims are twofold

1. To collect and discuss archives of historical and contemporary photography about China shot by international photographers and make them available to Chinese researchers, historians and the general public via an online electronic database.

2. To provide a centre and online archive for international researchers to find out about Chinese contemporary and historical photography.


The research centre has four central objectives.

1. An extensive online archive of photography of China by international photographers, Chinese photography and essays, research reports, thesis and journal articles. The archive will have both a Chinese and English section and will be designed to be the most extensive archive of its kind.

2. A physical library and research facilities to accommodate visiting scholars, researchers, historians interested in the subject. The library will create a substantial collection of books and journal publications by Chinese photographers and by international photographers working in China.

3. Organise key events linked to the aims of the centre. These will bring international experts from around the world together to discuss issues on Chinese photography and will take place both at the research centre in Dalian and at photography festivals and other gatherings.

4. The centre will act as a hub of learning for Dalian Image Art College photography undergraduate students and visiting postgraduate students from other Universities. Through a series of high profile visiting scholars, photographers and editors it will host an ongoing public lecture programme as well as encouraging the use of its archive for undergraduate research.


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