From 1843 to 1846 while photography was still in its infancy, Jules Alphonse Eugène Itier (1802-1877) travelled to China armed with a Lerebours daguerreotype camera and a laboratory filled with equipment and supplies. Diplomat, geologist, writer, anthropologist, and amateur photographer, Itier went to China in order to develop French imperialist and commercial expansion. But far from being merely a diplomat traveller, he meticulously documented everything he saw while trying to transcend exotic clichés. He demonstrated indeed a real empathy, a sincere desire to discover and more importantly to understand a country that Westerners fantasized. His photographs are both creative and documentary, they portray China through its typical traditional architecture, its panoramas of ports bays, its cityscapes, its people, their social activities, and its historical events.
Check out more of Jules Itier’s work at Muse de la Photo or Photography of China.
Photography Friday is a regular feature from Shanghaiist in association with Photography of China, Marine Cabos’s fantastic trilingual blog about photography and photographers in China.