The Fond Bontemps archive encompasses 400 still images and 23 silent films originally taken by André Bontemps (1888-1969), a deputy army judge who lived in the French Concession in Tianjin from 1931 to 1935.
Taken chiefly in Tianjin in the mid-1930s, the photographs of this archive document the expatriate family daily life, their leisure, their travel experience, as well as foreign military presence and activities in China.
In 2011, André Bontemps’ grandson, Jacques Lacome, donated the entire archive to the Parisian research centre Institut d’histoire du temps présent (IHTP). Scholar Dr. Fleur Chabaille — a specialist in contemporary and modern China urban history — has provided a comprehensive visual study of the archive. Starting from this case study, she eventually examined the French military presence in 1930s Tianjin.
The Institut d’Asie orientale (IAO) in Lyon has digitized all the still and moving images, which are freely accessible on “Virtual Tianjin” website.
Photography Friday is a regular feature from Shanghaiist in association with Photography of China, Marine Cabos’s fantastic platform about photography and photographers in China.