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Ah sang 1886 HK china_BT350_29_40_294052.jpg

An extensIve archive of CR10 Chinese seamen identity cards dating from 1910-1920 sit in the Southhampton Archives, containing thousands of portrait photographs. What immediately comes into attention for me is the inaccurate documentation of the names, especially in the case of the filler word Ah frequently being noted down as last names. Counterintuitively, this naming system rendered the men anonymous where the individual disappears into the mass of unrecognisable, indistinguishable syllables and non-words. 

The cyanotype print series contemplates on the embedded violence in vernacular identity photographs. 



Ah Sang

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