I read somewhere that when the Spanish arrived in South America the Inca had over 50 species of fruit and vegetables they commonly ate where the Europeans fared on 4 or 5. We forget it too easily, but tomatoes, potatoes and many of our modern food comes from South America. In Copacabana there was a wet market with dozens of varieties of potatoes I had never seen, and the widest range of crisps (corn, potatoes and probably much else besides) I had ever seen. I even bought a sack of corn crisps to bring back to La Paz!
Minox 35ML, Ilford FP4+
Causeway is both quintessentially Hong Kong (dense, loud, always something happening, tons of people) and at the same time one of the most un-Chinese parts of the city. Still, plenty of opportunities there for interesting street shots. I quite like this one: the signs, the tram, the people, the mask…
Minox 35ML, Holga 400
I’ve always been attracted to iron curtains. Some in HK are absolute works of art (not those) but any of them make fantastic backdrops in my book. This photo is a little grainy, but I think that adds to its retro charm, don’t you?
Minox 35ML, Holga 400
On the summer before I moved to Hong Kong I asked my father if e still had his film camera from the 70s. He dug into his boxes and couldn’t find it, but he did find a Minox 35ML, still in its box. Some German customers gave it to him as a gift in the 80s. I decided to try it out and it was love at first sight. Sure, it’s minimalist, but its so tiny that you can carry it around anywhere, and while focusing is a mostly random exercise, the lens is super sharp. I started adjusting to hyperfocal techniques and over the course of the first few weeks in HK, I shot half a dozen rolls. When they came back though, I found out that this notoriously unreliable camera had crapped out on me. Two of the rolls were blank, and two others were partially exposed only. I stopped using the Minox since I couldn’t find anyone to get it fixed. Still, I got some really good shots out of it, including this shot of a street food stall in Causeway Bay.
Yes, people hooked to their mobile phones has become a fixture of my own HK street photography, and actually of street photography in general. But this young man was captivated so fully that people had to walk around him while he was playing his game strolling down the street. That’s another level of hooked…
The Darker Side of Hong Kong
As a street photographer, I feel it is natural to be attracted to the more beautiful or picturesque aspects of the places you wander through. And I often am, but occasionally, I try to capture a bit of stark reality as well. To a lot of visitors to Hong Kong, the city seems affluent and modern, and it’s hard to imagine the shocking inequalities that hide underneath the veneer of modernity. This is one small example of it.
The End of the Tunnel
Hong Kong is often seen as a city of tall, well lit buildings but the reality is that it’s riddled with dark and narrow passages. Occasionally, these narrow passageways are connected with tunnels. The super bright light in HK means high contrast when shooting into these tunnels, which is what I like about this photo.
There is great potential in street photography when using posters or street furniture in composition, but it’s hard. Sometimes it’s just luck, as it was when I shot this one. I love that the man is cleaning his glasses as well, it adds to the virtual scenario of the two « characters » walking into each other.
Fuji x100f, 35mm, f/9, 1/250s, ISO 200
You see a lot of old ladies collecting cardboard boxes in Hong Kong. That’s when you realise how little social safety net exists. Still, it’s one of the typical sights, here in Sai Ying Pun.
Fuji x100f, 35mm, f/4, 1/250s, ISO 200
Chung Yeung Festival is a remembrance day in Hong Kong when families will gather to remember loved ones who have passed away. It’s a day for burnt offerings of all sorts, and while wandering the streets of Sai Ying Pun, I stumbled upon this store specialising in such products.