Chinatown Through a Wide Lens: The Hidden Photographs of Yuchow Chow (2019, Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia), by the award winning curator, Catherine B. Clement, and translated by Winnie L. Cheung, was one of my favourite books to review for the Ormsby Review (now The British Columbia Review). Who doesn’t love photography books!?
Yuchow Chow owned and operated a photographic studio in Vancouver’s Chinatown from 1907-1949, and when he retired, it was taken over by his sons until they retired in 1986. The studio chronicled life “during a tumultuous and transformative period in the city’s history (p9).” His customers included people from different ethnicities, such as Chinese, Japanese, Indigenous, Eastern European, and African. He also photographed community life.
We can only guess at the stories behind these important historical images of bygone days. We are fortunate that Catherine was able to find them and share them with us.
The book won the 2020 non-fiction Vancouver Book Award.