Sublime Street Photographs of Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s

Ho Fan's photographs show us Hong Kong as it really was

“My photographs with a strong pictorial aesthetic are still highly favored among the salons. Documentary style street photography or portraits are rarely selected although they are among my favorites. Maybe one day the opportunity will present itself for me to show this body of work. In the meantime, I will just keep trying.”
– Fan Ho

 

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Market Promenade(開門七件事)”

Hong Kong is all about the food. The smell of delicious stuff, some of it unidentifiable only to Bellamists and delving biology professors and coroners, hangs in air so soupy and thick it seems to be keeping the new skyscrapers upright. I’m wrong, of course. Hong Kong is all about human life, which is everywhere, packed tightly and possessed of an atavistic self-containment – the closest thing modern humanity has to Babel, Jericho or maybe Sodom. Hong Kong is noisy, seductive, confident, wonderful and amoral – given what the locals eat and drink, what they do in private would exceed the priapic dreams of agnostic dwarf. In this thrusting throng, it’s hard for an outsider to see the individual. Foreigners see the food and the dives, but who are these people and what on earth do we have in common with them? So here’s Fan Ho to show us his world as he saw it.

 

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Young Musketeers”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Whitty Street Diary(屈地街日記)”

 

“When I lived on MacDonnell Road … I would walk from the Mid-Levels. Back then there was no MTR. I would take my camera with me, down from MacDonnell Road, walking the backstreets and narrow lanes through the haze, where there were ordinary folk: ordinary, grassroots, and minority people. The kind of ‘Hong Kong spirit’ that they represented is unforgettable. They constantly struggled to survive”
– Fan Ho

 

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Balance(穩)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Can’t Wait(貪嘴)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Mystic Alley(秘巷)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Whitty Street Diary(屈地街日記)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Quarter to Four (三點九・中環街市-)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Kids and Cat(童心)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Mom’s Second Kitchen(媽媽我餓了)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Obedience (乖孩子)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Waiting for Mom(媽媽終會回來)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Master Craftsman(鬼斧神工)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Recollection of Wan Chai(灣仔集體回憶)”

Fan Ho Hong Kong

Fan Ho “Age of Innocence in Sheung Wan (童趣)”

 

Fan Ho – born Shanghai, China, in 1931; died San Jose, California, in 2016. He moved to Hong Kong in 1949.

Via: Portrait of Hong Kong.