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Beijing through Sidney Gamble's camera

Peking University, Apr. 1, 2014: It is not a picture show, but more of a miniature of one-hundred-year-ago Beijing. These photos are not taken by cameras, but by heart and mind. What viewers see through these pictures are not images, but more of memories of Old Beijing.

That is what Sidney Gamble's photographs bring to us. That is what people may say after attending the picture exhibition of Sidney Gamble entitled "Beijing through Sidney Gamble's Camera" in the Peking University Library from March 20 to 31.

Sidney Gamble's picture show

This picture show, jointly held by the Duke University Library and the Peking University Library, was the third one held in Beijing.

All the 114 pictures on display were from the collections of the Duke University Library which covers more than 5000 copies of Gamble's photos from 1917 to 1932. They were divided into four parts, respectively named as "the life and work of Gamble", "the record of history", "Beijing through Gamble's camera" and "China in changes". Besides, a 15-minute silent video shot in 1925 about the temple fair at Miaofeng Mountain was also presented.

The exhibition offered a perspective of life in Beijing and in China one hundred years ago, which is well worth seeing.

Visitors at the exhibition

Sidney Gamble, born in 1890, was a famous American social economist, humanist and photographer. He first visited China at the age of 18, since when he had been fascinated with Chinese culture and spirit. After gaining his master degree, he came to China frequently. He was the secretary in charge of social research in the Young Men's Christian Association in Beijing and had an occupation in Yanching University.

He did the research through questionnaire, interviews, photos and videos, which is advanced at that time. The pictures, taken from his view as a foreigner, recorded the everyday life, customs, significant events and social changes, and thus are highly valuable.

For more photographs taken by Sidney Gamble, please visit the Duke University Library: http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gamble/?page=1

Written by: Jin Panzhu
Edited by: Zhu Wenjia
Source: Peking University Library