Singapore through 19th Century Photographs
- About the Author
Singapore through 19th Century Photographs is a comprehensive photographic record of Singapore from the early 1840s to the 1900s. Paired with lively commentary, the more than 120 rare photographs from leading institutional and private collections recreate a compelling portrait of 19th-century Singapore.
Emphasising the topographical and architectural landscape of the city and its surrounding environs, this visually irresistible city tour transports the reader back to the Singapore of an earlier age, a city that has now changed beyond recognition. The vibrant old metropolis is brought back to life through insightful captions and mostly albumen prints, the dominant photographic medium of the second half of the 19th century.
Moreover, also documenting the growth of photography in Southeast Asia, this book reveals a watershed moment. The rise of international trade and the push for immigration led many Western studio photographers to seek their fortunes in the East, during a period that coincided with a rise in tourist travel, sparked by improvements to transportation networks. These propitious conditions set the stage for the intense production of commercial photographs of Singapore, and the book captures this unique moment of rapid development, both with the photographs shown and the perceptive analysis offered in the text.
Illustrating the city at its most striking, Singapore through 19th Century Photographs records a dynamic moment of development for both photography and of Singapore, the pre-eminent colonial port-city of Southeast Asia.
Author Jason Toh is a young Singaporean who studied Western art history and French at Middlebury College in the U.S., and at the University of Paris. He joined the National Museum of Singapore’s curatorial staff in 2004, at a time when the Museum was reinventing itself with a major new addition and a revamping of all its galleries and displays. Toh assisted in building up the museum’s photography collection and installing photo-related and Singapore-themed exhibitions.
His introduction to this volume enhances our knowledge of early western photographers in Singapore while the album portion features some rare and hitherto unpublished images, including exceptional stereo views from the early 1860s.
Page Count: 176
Year Published: 2009