Biography: 19th Century photographer Lai Afong

Biography: 19th Century photographer Lai Afong


Lai Afong (1839 – 1890) was a Chinese photographer who established Afong Studio, one of the early photographic studios in Hong Kong.

His studio was active from 1859 to around the 1940s. The business was probably taken over by his son in the 1890s. Subject matters ranged from portraits and social life pictures to cityscapes and landscapes. Lai’s work and person were praised by John Thomson, a Scottish photographer working in China at the time, in Thomson’s book The Straits of Malacca, Indo-China, and China. Lai’s experience totally originated into the Western community, but it still reveals the same sensibility of the literati painting which embodied both learned references to the styles of ancient masters and the inner spirit of the artist. According to the verso of many of his Carte de visite works, he was photographer to Sir Arthur Kennedy KCB and Grand Duke Alexis.

Chinese Meal by Lai Afong, c1880

Chinese Meal by Lai Afong, c1880 by Lai Afong

Junks in Guangzhou

Junks in Guangzhou by Lai Afong

Panorama of Gulangyu Island and Amoy

Panorama of Gulangyu Island and Amoy by Lai Afong

Five Stories Pagoda Guangzhou, c1880

Five Stories Pagoda Guangzhou, c1880 by Lai Afong

Sacred Heart Cathedral Guangzhou, c1880

Sacred Heart Cathedral Guangzhou, c1880 by Lai Afong

A commercial street in Guangzhou

A commercial street in Guangzhou by Lai Afong

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees by Lai Afong

Zhan Shichai

Zhan Shichai by Lai Afong


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