July 9th, 2020

The Camera Never Lies (1926)

A little while ago we appreciated some trick pictorials on the pages of old Shanghai newspapers, and here is an accidental trompe l'oeil, which the journalists found quite funny. Two years before the Sassoon House (Cathay Hotel) was built on the waterfont, the architects at the Palmer & Turner studio made its plaster model and carried it upstairs to the roof of the Union Building, on the Bund, to take its picture in a good light. But the photographer evidently forgot "that a camera can see more than one thing at a time," so the resulting image showed the dome of the HSBC building in the background, looking quite shrunken, as if "its days of supremacy on the Bund are over."