Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gamble’s Photos of China

Sidney Gamble was grandson of James Gamble, who co-founded Procter and Gamble.  He worked and researched in China in the early 1900s, when China was making the difficult transition from the collapsing Qing Dynasty to the construction of a modern republic.  He took many photographs, some of which were recently published in a new book.  It is quite fascinating and thought provoking, even today.  

In 1919, students protested in the Tiananmen Square in the May 4 Movement.  Many students were arrested.  Many more protests had taken place in Tiananmen and elsewhere in China since then.  Today it is impossible to protest in Tiananmen Square, or almost anywhere else in China.  Perhaps with the exception in Hong Kong.  And even in Hong Kong, the control is getting tighter.  Is this progress? 

In 1925, a wounded, protesting student was sent home from the hospital in a horse-drawn carriage by a businessman.  It looks like the protesting students received support from businessmen.  Would that happen today?  Would businessmen today dare to go against the establishment?

100 years ago, people as well as cargo were still commonly carried around in single-wheel wheelbarrows, which didn’t seem to have changed much for more than a thousand years.  China is proud of its long history.  But there is much that has not progressed for a long long time.  

Boys worked almost completely naked in coal mines.  That does not seem to happen anymore - at least not so publicly.  In that, and many other areas, there has been progress.  

There are many many more fascinating photos.  

The book is a really good read, and very good investment. 

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