Royal Commonwealth Society : Group of shark fishers cutting up sharks

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p>The British artist Alfred Hugh Fisher (1867-1945) was hired by the Colonial Office Visual Instruction Committee (COVIC) to produce a photographic record of the landscape and the people of the British Empire to be used as educational tool for schoolchildren. During his journey, from 1907 to 1910, he took and purchased more than 4,000 photographs and created 200 paintings. From these images COVIC produced a series of illustrated lectures and textbooks which were presented as geography lessons for schoolchildren. </p><p> COVIC’s aim was to promote imperial awareness through photography. Fisher’s images depict the economic, cultural and social life in the British colonies. He was specifically instructed to photograph people actively engaged in a characteristic way. This image, taken by Sir James Haldane Stewart Lockhart and purchased by Fisher, documents Chinese shark fishers at work. The scene is carefully composed in order to show the cut of the fins and the way of transporting this luxurious product to the market. Shark fin soup was a traditional delicacy in Chinese cuisine and its popularity rose in the nineteenth century. Lockhart was a British colonial official in Hong Kong and China for more than forty years, therefore he was familiar with the country and its traditions.</p><p>See Janus record <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FFisher%2017%2F4132'>here</a></p>


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