Street of Gamblers. Toned gelatin silver print, circa 1898
"Like all good tourists I had a Baedeker. A sentence saying "It is not advisable to visit the Chinese quarter unless one is accompanied by a guide," intrigued me. There was a vagabond streak in me which balks at caution. As soon as I could make myself free, I was on my way to Chinatown, where I was to go again and again, for it was this bit of the Orient set down in the heart if a Western metropolis that was to swing my destiny into new and unforeseen channels.
"Arnold Genthe's photographic studies of the people and streets of San Francisco's Chinatown before the earthquake of 1906 reveal something about Asian-American life and contemporary attitudes toward this immigrant group at the turn of the century. Genthe focused on the insular aspects of Chinatown life, eliminating by deft retouching of his negatives the telegraph lines and other signs of western technology." [Library of Congress]
For more of Arnold Genthe's photographs of Chinatown, see: "San Francisco Chinatown, 1895-1906" - a collection at The California Historical Society
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