A Chan Studio (Ya Zhen)
Heavenly Peace Street in Guangzhou
29 cm x 22 cm
Street photography has been an enduring art form since photography’s invention. This view by A Chan (Ya Zhen) Studio is characteristic of the art of capturing moments of urban life with the camera. This fine photograph includes a shop sign for the photography studio at the right side of the image. The photographer has posed figures on on the street to reveal the size of the narrow alleyway. People peer out from behind a variety of signs for shops offering a wide range of goods: tea, noodles, dim sum, paper products, stone tortoises, and floor bricks.
The image, with its precisely timed light cascading onto the otherwise dark alley, is at once a work of art and a fascinating glimpse of everyday life for people living in nineteenth-century China. Heavenly Peace Street developed into a commerical street named Tian Ping Jie during the Yuan (1279-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties. In the Ming Dynasty, paper and ink traders gathered in this area making it one of the most vibrant printing industry districts in Guangzhou. Today, renamed Heavenly Accomplishment Road, it is once again one of the most active locations for the printing industry in Guangdong Province.