China Beat readers looking for cool “new” desktop pictures for their computers might want to think old. More and more archives are digitalizing their collections of photographs and making them available online, so now finding that perfect snapshot of Old Beijing or the Great Wall couldn’t be easier. Here are just a couple of the many websites out there, and some sample photos that we found by searching for topics like “Shanghai” and “China.”
1. Friend of the blog Jeremy Friedlein (Program Director, CET Shanghai) pointed us to Life magazine photos available on Google Images. Adding “source:life” in the search box limits results to those photographs from the Life collection--a helpful hint, since searching for “Shanghai” in Google Images produces over 20 million results. In the much more manageable two hundred Life photos of Shanghai, there are plenty of street scenes, Bund panoramics, and rickshaw snapshots, as well as pictures showing the city in the last days of the civil war:
2. Jeremy also knows of our interest in the upcoming Shanghai World’s Fair, and turned our attention to more Life photos of World’s Fairs in the past:
3. The Library of Congress has a large online digital archive, which is an excellent source for photos of historic Beijing:
4. Finally, instead of looking to the past, why not imagine the future? This poster advertises a “Worlds’ Fair” to be held in Shanghai in 2474 (no, the placement of that apostrophe isn’t a typo). It doesn’t seem that the Pudong waterfront will change much, but we’re hoping that the Jetsons-style flying cars will reduce some of Shanghai’s traffic woes.