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Publication and event: Isabella Bird - Photographic Travels Through China 1894–96

Debbie Ireland will talk about Isabella Bird and how she - the nineteenth century’s most renowned woman travel writer - became a photographer. The talk takes place at The Royal Photographic Society in Bath on 5 May 2015 and coincides with the publication of Debbie's new book of the same tile. A student of John Thomson, Bird (who was also a RPS member) recorded her three very different journeys in Chinai including her exploration of the Yangtze Valley and beyond.

At the talk here will be an opportunity to purchase and have signed copies of Debbie's newly published book. Isabella Bird A Photographic Journal of Travels Through China 1894-1896 (£25, Ammonite Press, April 2015) covers three journeys, beginning in the small port of Chefoo in 1894, where she arrived without money or luggage having been expelled from Korea. The photographic journal ends in 1896 with Isabella’s exploration of the Yangtze River and beyond.

This lavish pictorial record, produced in collaboration with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), features 200 unique photographs taken by Isabella during her final Chinese expedition. The photographs and original observations, commented on by travel expert Deborah Ireland, transport readers to nineteenth century China and the insightful social observations of a passionate, courageous and unstoppable woman.

Deborah Ireland has spent seventeen years working in photography, having held the positions of Assistant Curator of The Royal Photographic Society’s Collection, head of the AA World Travel picture library and a judge for Travel Photographer of the Year since its inception in 2003. Deborah’s interest in the history of travel photography led her to research and write for The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), leading to the publication of Isabella Bird.

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