The Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine, United States
Art-historical scholarship has pointed out the janus-faced quality of Lang Jingshan (1892-1995)’s photographic style in the late 1920s and 1930s which straddles the border between pictorialism and modernism. Bringing in approaches from book history and material culture studies, this paper shifts the focus to Lang Jingshan’s three photobooks published between the 1920s and 1940s, and foregrounds the role of audiences as both viewers and consumers in shaping Lang’s changing styles. By scrutinizing the materiality of Lang’s books and their reception, my research demonstrates how Lang’s bookmaking was rebellious, yet at the same time, vulnerable to the entangled nationalist and internationalist gaze.