Location: Pane Room at Alexander Library
Abstract: What constitutes a socialist face? And what are socialist faces with Chinese characteristics? After decades of trial and practice, commercial photographers working in late Mao China ventured to theorize how the photographic medium fixes a human subject on an often opaque and shifty background. The talk focuses on everyday practice of a few of these photographers, including Zhu Tianmin, Zhu Guangming, and Zheng Xiaomi, who were active throughout the Mao period and recognized as expert photo portraitists of their time. While portraits in words and portraits in paint or photography are often considered as opposites, these photographers made conscious effort at verbal commentaries on the techniques of fixing on film a face that is both Chinese and socialist.