China 63: Hans (Johnny) Schneider
Billet de Marine Cabos (SOAS, associée CECMC), publié sur son site Photography of China. Il est consacré à des photographies du berlinois Hans Schneider, qui s’était rendu en Chine dans les années 60.
— Written by Hans (Johnny) Schneider
My interest in Photography goes back to my childhood in the Berlin of the 1930s when someone gave me an AGFA box camera using 6 x 9 cm black and white 120 film rolls. My weekly allowance was $0.25 Deutsche Mark so I had to badger for more money. With a primitive developer box, I could process my films without need for a darkroom and learned soon to develop and copy.
Fast forward and several generations of cameras later, my wife, Christina, and I arrived in Beijing in 1963 on a sunny but cold March morning after a long flight from Moscow through Siberia on Aeroflot. I carried a Rolleiflex for black and white and Christina a Contax for colour. While black and white film was easily available in Beijing, Kodakchrome was not.
As an invited ‘specialist’ I could import many things, Jardine, Matheson & Co in Hong Kong became my favourite suppliers. In the aftermath of the China-Soviet break after Krushev’s speech denouncing Stalin, we filled in when the 2-3000 Soviet ‘specialists’ left almost overnight. Located on the way to the Summer Palace and Beijing University, the Friendship Hotel (Youyi Binguan, still in existence today) was a large walled compound, with a main and several other buildings, tennis court, gym, swimming pool, shops, clinic, theatre, several restaurants and its own car pool. In the spring of 1963, it was then host to a motley crowd of writers, translators, journalists, radio announcers, etc. from some 30-40 countries, plus a few foreigners who remained in China after the II World War. My wife ended up teaching Spanish to the students at the Diplomatic College, I became the editor and translator of ‘China Illustrated’ and occasionally assisted Anna-Louise Strong ‘Letters from Beijing’ and Mme Soong Ching-ling (Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China) with ‘China Reconstructs’.