British photographic history

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A tour of a Chinese railway factory 1920 and 2010

It is always interesting to see how a photographic genre persists over time. I recently had the opportunity to see how one genre - ‘The important overseas visitor tours a factory’ remained constant over about 85 years. The first photograph shows a Western man in business suit being shown around a railway factory in China. It was one of a group of images found in an old suitcase in a junk shop. Papers in the collection identify the man as British and the date late 1920s – early 30s. When I sold the collection the helpful and knowledgeable Chinese buyer identified the factory as the Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company. And there on their website I found a modern day equivalent – a group of Western visitors being given a guided tour of the modern factory. Interesting to play spot the difference. In 1920 they brought in a local studio photographer to the factory and the images were presented on his embossed mounts. For the modern photograph someone probably just used their mobile phone.

and now:

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Comment by John Bradley on August 20, 2013 at 18:47

Thank you Michael - I hadn't registered all the hats in the early photograph. No women in the early image I think - and none in the others in the collection.

Comment by Michael Wong on August 20, 2013 at 15:52

Nice one and thanks for posting it! I can spot the similarities though - they're all wearing hats!

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