We at the TAP Review mourn the passing of Raymond Lum. Ray’s active encouragement was instrumental in getting TAP started, and he was our dynamic Book Reviews and Resources Editor from the very first issue in the fall of 2010, until his untimely death in the fall of 2015.
It was Ray’s idea to publish an up-to-date annotated list of “Recent Publications of Note” in every issue of the TAP Review. His “Recent Pubs” entries were always lively, informative, and broadly inclusive. Bringing together diverse books and articles on photography from all regions of Asia, “Recent Pubs” made the scope of this fledgling field - the study of photography from Asia - visible for the first time. In the six years since TAP was launched, the field has grown exponentially, and Ray’s “Recent Pubs” have documented its growth.
In addition to “Recent Pubs”, Ray developed an ever-expanding “Resources” page for TAP, which features annotated links to a full range of photography archives and databases worldwide. The Resources page also links to summaries of scholarly panels and symposia. Together, “Recent Pubs” and the Resources page have, for the past six years, connected TAP readers both with the scope of existing scholarly work and with materials for future scholarship on photography from Asia. They were essential regular features of the journal, and they remain available on the TAP website.
Ray also often took the opportunity to review books himself in the pages of TAP. The books he chose to review reflected his lively interests in Asian diaspora communities, Chinese history and the importance of photographic archives. His book reviews and his archive profile entitled “Asia Photographs at Harvard” remain extremely useful and are archived on the TAP website.
Ray felt it was important to both preserve historical photographs and to get them into circulation – to connect them with people and ideas. He was engaged with photography from Asia in many ways – building archives such as the one at the Harvard Yenching Library, getting photographs digitized to make them publicly available as he did with the Hedda Morrison archive, curating, writing about photography himself and creating resources for others to use. In his life he advanced the study and understanding of “Asia photographs” significantly.
We are most grateful for all he given us. All of his work at the TAP Review maintained rigorous standards, while at the same time expanding our scope, through his openness to interesting materials of many kinds. Claire Roberts, friend and historian of Chinese art, has written that Ray was “welcoming, generous, knowledgeable, and funny. He wore his erudition lightly and demonstrated great creativity in the face of challenges. If something was worth doing, he never gave up. With his great energy and zest for life, we assumed he would outlive us all.”