At 18-years-old, Louis-Philippe Messelier (1901-1986?) left his hometown in France to travel to China where he worked in the woollen industry during the 1930s. Based in the French concession of Shanghai, he juggled his business career with taking photographs as a journalist for the French Journal of Shanghai. Louis-Philippe Messelier wandered everywhere: down the streets to see the ritual processions, the acrobats and the snake charmers; at the races with the local aristocracy; inside film studios; on rooftops taking aerial views; in the countryside admiring the beauty of antic remains or fishermen’s cottages. Far from falling into the easy ‘exotic’ pitfalls, Louis-Philippe Messelier distinguished himself by the dynamism of his angles of view, his atypical subjects, and his mastering of contrasts. This rare collection is composed of nearly 250 photographs extracted from original stereoscopic glass plates, which depict the rapid changes occurring in Modern China.
Be sure to check out the rest of the collection from Marine Cabos’ at Photography in China.