In 1844-45, the French custom officer Jules Itier travelled around Asia as a member of the Lagrené Mission, the first French diplomatic mission to China. Itier travelled with a daguerreotype camera to number of countries in the region and produced around a hundred plates that have been preserved. This research started in 2011established among other things that the earliest extant photograph of Asia is the daguerreotype of the Tian Hock Keng temple in Chinatown, Singapore, taken by Itier on the 6 July 1844. The research was formalised with the publication of a peer-reviewed paper in the prestigious journal History of Photography in December 2015. The artistic side of the research will be the subject of a number of exhibitions to be presented over the next couple of years (NUS Museum semester 2 2019, Regional museum of Gap, France, summer 2020). A new research grant will extent this research to the African section of Itier’s travels (Senegal and Egypt).
Massot Gilles Jean Yves