Father Of Photography, Purveyor Of Pornography

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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.

Chinese families’ goods in Huang Qingjun’s pictures

The idea for the series about people’s material goods, now called Jiadang (Family Stuff), came in 2003 with some photos he took for the magazine Chinese National Geography. But the project didn’t really get under way until three years later, when Huang started travelling around China looking for suitable places and people.

“Most people thought what I was proposing was not normal. When I explained I wanted to set up a photo, that it would involve taking everything out of their house and setting it up outside, that took quite a lot of explaining,” he says.

“But almost all of them, when they realised what I was trying to do, they understood the point.”

Make it Pop! Chinese model Xiao Wen Ju for Kenzo

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Xiao Wen Ju, one of our favorite Chinese models currently blowing up the fashion world, stars in this new winter accessories campaign for Kenzo, shot by Frederik Heyman. Check out the eye-popping colors and cool set design by David White, as Xi’an-born Xiao poses alongside by Simon Sabbah. This has been a big year for Kenzo, as the legendary brand was revived by Opening Ceremony‘s Carol Lim & Humberto Leon. The new Xiao Wen Ju-starring campaign follows on the heels of the cheeky video clip “Watermarked“, a collaboration with digi-experimental art collective DIS Magazine, which showcased Kenzo’s Fall/Winter 2012 Men’s collection and was called “the best fashion film in years” by many. Can’t wait for more Kenzo (and Xiao Wen Ju) in 2013!

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Watch below: The fashion film “Watermarked” directed by Marco Rosso of DIS Magazine.