'Coolies', China, 1864-1872.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Two Chinese street vendors; the man on the left carries a yoke with two containers, the other holds folded lengths of fabric. Plate from 'Foochow and the River Min', an album of photographs taken by John Thomson (1837-1921) and published in 1873. Forty-six copies were produced for subscribers, many of whom were probably British merchants and tea planters that Thomson met during his extensive travels in China between 1864 and 1872. Thomson's outstanding photography of the scenes and the people of China and the Far East earned him recognition as the first of the great photojournalists.