Graduate Student Activities: Dengyan Zhou

Doctoral candidate Dengyan Zhou has just returned from a field trip to China, where she carried out primary archival research and gathered uncollected materials for her dissertation, “The Language of ‘Photography’ in China: A Genealogy of Conceptual Frames from Sheying to Xinwen sheying and Jishi sheying.” One of her primary goals was to interview surviving participants in the momentous changes that swept through China, transforming its photographic culture in the middle years of the twentieth century. Here she is in January, in Taiyuan, interviewing eighty-four year old Gu Di, who, during the period of the Sino-Japanese War and the Civil War that followed, was filing clerk in the office of Jin-Cha-Ji Pictorial, the journal that shaped photographic practice in the Communist-led democratic areas and, later, in the People’s Republic of China. The three-day interview provided Dengyan with important historical details concerning the establishment and management of the journal’s photographic operations, the professional training of its photographers, the circulation of photographs, and the journal’s relationships with other organs of Communist communications in the years between 1942 and 1949. Gu Di also generously provided Dengyan with documentary materials and photographs from his own collection that bring vividly to life the understudied history of this period of photographic production in China.

Zhou Dengyan with Gu Di

Zhou Dengyan with Gu Di

Gu Di in his study and bedroom-1

Gu Di in his study and bedroom

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