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Mu Chen and Shao Yinong: Family Register

Publisher: Beijing: Zhejiang Photography Publishing House, 2002
Edition: 1st Edition
Binding: Hardcover
ISBN: 7805369062
Condition: As New / No dust jacket as issued
Item #: 110880



First edition, first printing. Hardcover. Two-sided accordion-fold pages with photographically illustrated paper-covered boards; no dust-jacket as issued. Photographs and text (in Chinese) by Mu Chen and Shao Yinong. Preface (in Chinese and English) by Zhang Yiwu. Essay (in Chinese and English) by Meg Maggio. 193 pp., with black-and-white illustrations throughout. 8 x 6 inches. Out of print. Very rare.

[Cited in Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook: A History, Volume II. (London and New York: Phaidon, 2006).]


Fine. A Mint copy.


An excerpt from "The Photobook: A History, Volume II" by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger: "Family Register [uses] the family portrait to reclaim or summon up a history that has been lost or disrupted....[But] the idea of the family suggested by the title should not be taken too literally: this is not a documentary history but a work of art, an imaginative and metaphorical reconstruction of Shao Yinong's lost family tree, a myth, a family 'saga'. Mu Chen and Shao Yinong tracked down as many of the existing family members as they could, and photographed them wearing a Mao jacket over their ordinary clothes; the jacket signifies revolution and loss of self, while the clothes beneath indicate tradition and individuality....The 'modern' medium of the photograph is mounted on a continuous accordion fold-out page, recalling the traditional Chinese scroll-painting format. Alongside each photograph -- generally a portrait of the snap-shot or identity-card type -- first-hand accounts of the family history of those portrayed are presented in the form of extensive texts that replicate the objectivity of an anthropologist's field notes." In much the same way that Christian Boltanski's Kaddish does, Family Register "searches for a way in which the photographic image can be utilized imaginatively to explore identity and conjure up the collective and individual histories written in a series of faces."