Politics of Landscape Photography in East Asia

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Politics of Landscape Photography in East Asia
Stream: Art/Art History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Jeehey Kim, University of Arizona, United States (organizer, chair, presenter)
Anne Kuo-An Ma, NYU Shanghai, China (presenter)
Kathy Mak, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (presenter)
Yoshiaki Kai, University of Niigata, Japan (presenter)
Quincy Ngan, Yale University, United States (discussant)


This panel explores the ways in which landscape photography involves national identity as well as a discourse on photographic genres in East Asia during the postwar period. Professional photographers in countries, such as China, Korea, and Taiwan, engaged themselves in creating images of local views, while consciously aware of a mode of visualizing a new national identity. At the same time, amateur photographers actively participated in creating and challenging the genre of landscape photography in Japan. This panel aims to address various modes and imaginaries of landscape in East Asia from the 1950s to the 1990s. The speakers ruminate on how photographs and picture magazines have served to structure a collective identity with ideological or post/colonial implications. Architectural photographs and images made by amateur photographers raise a question on what makes landscape photography a genre in the region. The experience of Japanese colonialism plays a crucial role in creating a postcolonial genre of photography both in Taiwan and Korea. The Cold War and legacies of colonialism obviously affected how the genre of landscape photography was interpreted and consumed in the region. The panel attempts to present a comparative view toward landscape photography in the postwar East Asia through looking at diverse practices of photography.