Photograph by William Saunders. Shanghai Hair Cut.

We can recommend a BBC news article which writes about the wonderful photographs of the British engineer turned photographer William Saunders. Saunders spent nearly 25 years in Shanghai exploring the fascinating city around him.

Saunders first travelled to China in the 1860s as an engineer, but later settled in Shanghai after a spell studying photography back in the UK. 

Saunders' photos range from portraits of society women, to family groups and even workers proudly showing off their transport inventions and tools. Many of his sitters hold parasols, which were a fashionable item in Qing-era Shanghai. He used props in the photographs to denote the social status and trade of his customers.

Through his photos we glimpse a very diverse Shanghai on the cusp of social change in the late 19th to early 20th century.

Shanghai hair cut - William Saunders  

Saunders established what would become one of the leading photographic studios of late Qing dynasty Shanghai. His photographs were often hand-tinted, capturing the ambience of the time.  

Chinese lady with bound feet - William Saunders

To see more of Saunders' photographs, click on the link below:


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