Hou Bo

1924 – 2017

In Tate Britain


Hou Bo (Chinese: 侯波; 17 September 1924 – 26 November 2017) was a Chinese photographer who, with her husband Xu Xiaobing, was among the best known photographers of Mao Zedong. Born into a poor peasant family, Hou Bo joined the Communist Party at the age of fourteen and learned photography during the Second Sino-Japanese War in order to present a better image of the Party's work to the world. After 1949, she and Xu Xiaobing lived in the same compound as Mao and took both official photos, some used for posters and publicity, which became the most widely circulated photos of Mao, and some family photos, taken informally behind the scenes.

Among her best known photographs are "The Founding of the PRC" (1949), "Mao Zedong Swimming Across the Yangzi" (1955), "Chairman Mao at Work in an Airplane" (1959), and "Mao Zedong with Students from Latin America" (1959), which won First Prize in the National Photography Exhibition of 1959.

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