In the West, Louis Daguerre (d.1851) enjoys a distinguished legacy as an esteemed photographer, accomplished painter and inventor of the diorama theatre. Why then is his name in China synonymous with pornography?
Mr Daguerre owes his dubious second lease of renown to porn peddlers Cao Liu, the Chinese equivalent of US site Pornhub. Cao Liu runs a popular platform entitled ‘Daguerre’s Legacy’, which allows users to post their own saucy selfies.
Though there is no evidence to suggest Monsieur Daguerre didn’t enjoy perusing images of an explicit nature, it’s probable that he wouldn’t be delighted that his good name has been reduced to a by-word for smut.
We were unable to verify why poor Louis was selected for titular honours 150 years after his death, but it seems likely it’s for little more than his championing of the still image.
Pornography is strictly forbidden in China, with anyone caught spreading or even looking at it risking heavy penalties. One such example is Chinese media player Qvod, currently on trial for allegedly circulating porn, despite simply displaying search results of videos uploaded by others across the internet.
In spite of the risks, a torrent of porn continues to flood the web, even spreading into live events. Netizens frothed themselves into a frenzy recently when retired Japanese porn star, Sora Aoi, appeared at the annual company meeting of Chinese company Jing Dong.