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Memories flood back at sight of photo

RAYMOND Lum, 70, gazed at his own portrait taken on his 5-year-old birthday by a Jewish photographer in Shanghai in 1947 with a long silence.

"I can still remember the day when my grandma knitted a sweater as birthday gift and took me to the studio," said the American Chinese Lum, who flew to Shanghai from San Francisco today to see the photo.

More than 10 people including Lum have been identified from pictures taken by the photographer Sam Sanzetti after months of research by the Israeli consulate in Shanghai.

Lum said he lost the sweater at school several days later and the photo became the only memory of the precious gift.

The photos, both monochrome and color, feature people of all ages. Most are Shanghainese, including young couples, businessmen and mothers with children.

The Israeli consulate in Shanghai held an exhibition to try to attach names of the photos taken between 1922 and 1957 after receiving the old pictures from the photographer's stepson.

The exhibition is open for free through the end of the month at Meilun Building at 171 Nanjing Road E. where Sanzetti opened his studio half a century ago.

Sanzetti, said to be one of the best photographers in China at the time, had four studios in 1922, including a flagship studio on the old Nanjing Road dedicated to portraits of city people. He ran the studio until 1957 when he returned to Israel.

Sanzetti's Shanghai portraits were rediscovered after his death in 1986. His stepson, who lives in Israel, has asked for help identifying his subjects and finding their children so copies can be presented to them.

Sanzetti married a Chinese woman and had a stepdaughter when he was in the city.


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