Hong Kong’s unique Chinese and Western cultural characteristics date back to 1843, when Queen Victoria established Hong Kong as a Crown colony. The lives of Hong Kong’s people have changed ever since then.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed capturing historical places, shops, streets, and festivals in Hong Kong that are vestiges of the past because I know they might disappear in the long run. I hope to preserve them with my photos.
1997 in particular marked a political watershed in Hong Kong. At that time, many things had to shift and become more China-oriented. Lifestyles have changed since then to a certain extent. As a photographer, I want to capture these political issues as much as possible.
I love my birthplace. I try to capture people quietly, without affecting or intervening in the process. To me, a good photo should tell a story. I notice this in the works of many of the masters of photography. Ho Fan, Eugene Smith, Daido Moriyama, Marc Riboud, and Takuma Nakahira have all inspired me with their storytelling images and their photos have a distinct influence on my photography.
Telling a story with a photo involves using the atmosphere, light sources, characters, along with a time and feeling. And especially, your powers of observation. When you are observant, you can find stories in unusual places.
My IKEA project is a good example of this. As I strolled through the store, I noticed that many people were just relaxing. They came to window shop on a holiday weekend and could be seen gathered with their friends and family in a place like a home, but one that wasn’t their home or even a real house. Everyone’s expressions were very natural, which made the resulting photos quite interesting.
Sometimes long-term projects can reveal shifts in people and culture that shorter term projects don’t address. They can give the viewer a broader understanding of social issues. I found this to be the case when I began my 599G project during COVID-19. The project lasted three years, during which my own life and work changed drastically because of the pandemic. I spent more time on the streets observing and documenting changes in Hong Kong. What I noticed was that people became emotionally distant during quarantine – an effect that is still lingering.
In this ever-changing society, I plan to keep on heading out to the streets and documenting life as it is, in the moment. Because who knows? The way we live today could be gone tomorrow.