This week, I continued to survey the Yao family collection and encountered a box full of negatives and 35 mm slides. Since Mr. Norman Yao took many photos for the Claremont Colleges and the Claremont Church, I am also discovering local history while going through his photos. In the 1960s, the Scripps College campus was decorated with Chinese Buddhist statues donated by Norwegian General Johan Munthe who emigrated to China in 1886. The fascination with the Orient was so deep that President of Scripps College Mark Curtis even tried on a Chinese imperial robe.
The racial aspect of 1960s Claremont in this collection is also rather interesting as the vast majority of the people Norman photographed were Caucasians, and yet he was a person of color. This particular dynamic reminded me of the photos of the all-white parties that Norman took in Hong Kong. I wonder what psychological effect such racial dynamics could have had on Norman as well as the photographed subjects. Meanwhile, Norman’s camera also captured social changes in the 1960s, for instance, the first admission of Black students into Scripps College through Future Development Program of Negro Students.
Hope you have a good week!