The book shows a rare view of everyday life in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris and the Middle East in the 1930s and 1940s. Places where Thorbecke lived and worked during her life and which form the guideline of this book.
In 1931 Ellen Thorbecke left for China. For this trip she bought her first camera. From a home-grown journalist, Thorbecke developed into a compelling photographer whose photos were engaged observations about the people and places she visited. Her photo reports were made in a lively candid style with an eye for the vitality of street life and she produced various photo books including 'Peking Studies' (1934) and 'People in China' (1935).
Her visual stories make her oeuvre - one of the pearls of the Collection of the Nederlands Fotomuseum - a unique time document. Her small but special photo archive was entrusted to the museum in 2008 and consists of 638 black and white negatives, 166 of which were made in China. The images Thorbecke made are still relevant today because of her human, direct and unbiased way of looking.
The book is published on the occasion of the exhibition 'Ellen Thorbeckes China', from June 9 to October 3, 2021 in the Nederlands Fotomuseum.