Photography Beyond the War

Probably the most influential photographer of his generation, Sha Fei (1912-1950) captured some of the most iconic images of wartime China from the late 1930s to 1940s. His pictures reflect both his profound humanism and his belief in the power of photography to awaken people. Following his tragic execution in 1950, Sha Fei was erased from history, only to be rediscovered in the 1980s, owing mainly to the efforts of his daughter Wang Yan, who generously donated to the HKUST Library Archives 63 museum-grade prints constituting the present collection.


Sha Fei undoubtedly made the boldest effort in revolutionizing the form and style of photography in modern China.  He established a new photographic genre that emphasized pain, death, and suffering, as well as triumph, and conquers. All these are essentially new topics of visual representation in the 20th century.