The Forbidden City, c 1900.


The Forbidden City, c 1900.
2 7 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 19cm


A snapshot photograph of Tian'anmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace in the Forbidden City, Beijing, China, taken by an unknown photographer in about 1900. Crowds throng the square in front of the Tian'anmen Gate. The gate is decorated with banners and flags for some special occasion. The Forbidden City stands in the centre of Beijing. Completed in 1420, it was a palace for the Chinese Emperors for nearly six hundred years. Originally a shooting term, the word 'snapshot' was first linked with photography in the late 1850s, when it was used to describe a photograph taken with a brief exposure. Over time, snapshot came to mean any amateur photograph taken with a simple camera. The origins of popular photography can be traced back to George Eastman's [1854-1932] introduction of the first Kodak camera in 1888. Snapshots are informal, personal records of everyday life and experiences.

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© Kodak Collection / National Science & Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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