From the glorious cities and fields of the USA, it's time now to travel to the other side of the globe, to a place and time when the present world power that is the People's Republic of China was just breaking out of its centuries old dynastic monarchy and laying the foundations of its present day republic. These old photographs of China are now testament to what once was the Middle Kingdom.
These incredible images come from Ralph Repo's Flickr account. The images themselves were found all over the Internet, but the uploader has meticulously collected and digitally restored them, and gathered them into one superb set showing the grandeur that was and is China.
The pictures come from different dates, a few as recently as 1946 and some as far back as the 1880s. Thus you get different snapshots of time, from the diminishing of the Qing Dynasty to the rise of Mao Zedong's republic. to They also come different places in the Kingdom of China and her neighbors, from Taiwan to Tibet to French Indochina to San Francisco's Chinatown.
The diversity in style can be attributed not only to the differences in time and place of the photographic subject, but also to the spirit and technique of the photographers responsible for these visual treasures. Among the photographers are some well-known photojournalists and portraitists including Hedda Morrison, Sidney D. Gamble, Arthur Rosthstein, Arnold Genthe, George Silk, William Henry Jackson, and Ernst Boerschmann.
The full set of these amazing old photos of China can be found over at Ralph Repo's Flickr account. There are 75 images of the Middle Kingdom that was, and each one is definitely worth your time. Some publications on the subject that you might be interested in: Hong Kong As It Was: Hedda Morrison's Photographs, 1946-47, Genthe's Photographs of San Francisco's Old Chinatown and Peking: A Social Survey (Global Oriental Classic Reprints).