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Photographers on Shamian Island

Positioned on the banks of Pearl River, Shamian Island has played an important role in foreign trade in Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton.

Trading foreigners lived and worked here, on the banks of the river, from the 18th to mid-19th century. In 1859, after the Second Opium War, Britain and France dug a canal that separated the area from the mainland, effectively turning it into an island on the Pearl River, with a guarded bridge at each end. The island was split into two concessions, one for Britain and one for France, and the island became host to glorious buildings housing consulates, banks and trading firms from all over the world.

Life here changed dramatically in 1949, but the historic buildings still stand and some renovation has been carried out. Cafes and tourist shops have popped up and there are many bronze statues depicting elements of the culture and history of the island. I was delighted to find a couple of photographers busy documenting life here.

Bronze statue of a photographer

Bronze statues on Shamian Island, Guangzhou, China, November 2018

Bronze statue of a photographer
Bronze statue of a photographer


Copyright Debbie Smyth, 17 July 2020

Posted as part of Cee’s B&W


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