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Documentary photography: Capturing life, Vol. 14 - 2007, No. 3

Aestheticism and Commercialism: The Coming of Age of Documentary Photography in China

, , pages: 31-48[open access]

Photography in modern China through case studies of photographers and their work in diff erent periods of history. It argues that technological potential, social conditions and cultural values work together to enable and condition the development of specifi c styles of photography. The coming of age of documentary photography as an independent way of observing society and intervening in social change in China is the result of overcoming three institutional infl uences of art: propaganda, aestheticism and commercialism. The future development of this art form depends on its continued negotiation with these three institutional forces and its ability to remain relevant to social processes.

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