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July 20, 2012

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Man, 70, found in historic photos

RAYMOND Lum, 70, gazed at a portrait of himself taken on his fifth birthday by a Jewish photographer in Shanghai in 1947.

"I can still remember the day when my grandma knitted a sweater for me and took me to the studio," said the Chinese-American Lum, who flew to Shanghai from San Francisco yesterday to see the photo at an exhibition.

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

The 10 are featured in some of the more than 200 photos, most having been taken between 1922 and 1957, to which the Israeli consulate in Shanghai is trying to attach names.

The consulate is exhibiting 100 of the photos at Meilun Building at 171 Nanjing Road E. where Sanzetti opened his studio half a century ago.

The free exhibition will be open until the end of July.

At the exhibition, Lum also found a photo of him posing with his grandmother that was taken on the same day and a portrait of his aunt who raised him. His father was a tennis player and had little time to take care of him.

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

He moved to Hong Kong from Shanghai in 1949 with his family and migrated to the United States in 2000.

"Some friends noticed the old photos in a Chinese language newspaper in San Francisco in October and said a portrait looked like me," Lum said. He decided to come to the exhibition to see the photos after confirming the boy was him. "The memories of 65 years ago all appeared in my mind after seeing the photos," he said.

The consulate yesterday presented the photos to him.

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

Sanzetti, said to be one of the best photographers in China at the time, had four studios in 1922, including a flagship studio on old Nanjing Road dedicated to portraits of local residents. 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, seeks help identifying subjects so their children can have copies.


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