Canton, Kwangtung (Guangdong) province, China: an old man and a boy. Photograph by John Thomson, 1869.
- Thomson, J. (John), 1837-1921
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About this work
An old man, seated, resting his right arm on a table, which also supports a tea-cup. A young boy standing, holding the left arm of the chair. This photograph shows how the photographer John Thomson often had to conform to the established rules of Chinese portraiture. The sitter is posed in the centre, facing the camera, with a child on one side and a tea-table on the other. The face of the old man and the boy remain expressionless: in the Chinese tradition, the photo is a record of the person rather than that of the personality. This rigid style was quite contrary to Thomson's own tradition of portraiture, in which the subject often appears more human and vivid, and the backdrop more interesting
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