Lindsay, Michael

In early 1938, Michael LINDSAY (迈可) (1909-1994) bought the camera that he used throughout his years in China. He described this camera in his 1975 photographic record/memoir The Unknown War, North China 1937-1945, as a ‘Zeiss Ikon 3.5, taking 16 on 120 film’ (i.e. the Zeiss Ikon f3.5 camera took 120-size film, and, presumably, 16 exposures were possible on a small roll of this film). Under Japanese occupation, Lindsay’s photographs of Chinese guerilla activities were potentially incriminating, so developing the negatives and making prints had to be discreet. The Beijing-based Russian photographer, Serge Vargassoff (1906-1965), undertook Lindsay’s processing until December 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbour, when the Lindsays joined Chinese communist guerillas in rural areas, his film was developed by Eighth Route Army technicians, often in makeshift darkrooms with no running water, while Lindsay repaired his camera as required. During one Japanese offensive, the couple's possessions were abandoned to the enemy, including a box containing negatives and prints, and Hsiao Li Lindsay’s diary. By chance, the box and contents were recovered – an account of this can be found in Bold Plum by Hsiao Li Lindsay (Lulu Press, 2006).