Vanishing Chinatown: The World of The May's Photo Studio

December 13, 2020 (Sunday) / 2:00 pm


Vanishing Chinatown: The World of The May's Photo Studio

Dir. Emiko Omori (2020)

In the early 1900s, the Chan family‘s photo studio in San Francisco’s Chinatown turned out one-of-a-kind photos of Chinese American immigrants. Director Emiko Omori tells the story of a serendipitous discovery that uncovered a trove of the family’s photographic work almost lost to time. Using collage, double exposure, and depictions of Chinese operas with Wild West-period costumes, the photos offer a special glimpse into Chinatown’s history. While fascinating objects of art and remembrance, the photos also document an immigrant community’s creative resistance to intense racial discrimination. 

Film to be followed by discussion with the film’s director, Emiko Omori, and the Chan family’s granddaughter and film’s storyteller, Corinne Chan Takayama.

Presented by Penn Museum and cosponsored by Penn's Cinema and Media Studies; Program in Asian American Studies; and Wolf Humanities Center; and Philadelphia Asian American Film and Filmmakers.