Kowloon Clock, Tsim Tsa Chui. The end of the Kowloon to Canton Railway in Kowloon.
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At a time where studio photography was far more common, Fan’s work stood out. Rolleiflex in hand, he took to the streets, photographing the early skyscrapers, intriguing scenes and people — people who sometimes didn’t enjoy having their photograph taken.
Nighttime. This abstract black and white photograph captures the life and energy of the city of Hong Kong. It was taken in 2005.
Not all of Fan’s encounters were extreme though. In fact, some were the complete opposite. He tells SCMP of another encounter involving a group of young girls who enjoyed having their photograph taken so much that they “combed their hair and asked me to take their photos again.”
View of Central from Kowloon. This photograph was taken in 2005. In the foreground, a small junk can be seen with the tall high rise buildings of Hong Kong’s Victoria Island in the background.
Over the years, he’s won no less than 280 awards from international exhibitions and competitions. He’s also been given the honor of being elected to multiple photographic societies around the globe, from Argentina to Singapore.
A race goer studying the form at Happy Valley. Every Wednesday night, horses race under the bizarre futuristic landscape of the city’s bright lights.
The night time traffic on Connaught Road, Wan Chai. This black and white photograph was taken in 2005.
Victoria Peak. The view shows the bright lights of Central below and the harbour beyond, with Kowloon in the distance.
Nine Dragons of the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong. The hills of Kowloon are referred to as dragons by the local people.
If you’d like to dive a little bit further into his work, the video below from Modernbook Gallery shows Fan discussing the history of his photographs and the philosophy that drove him to create the images he did:
Cultural Centre, Abstract piece, Tsim Tsau Tsui. This photograph is more sepia than black and white and was taken in 2005.
Image credits: Photographs by Ho Fan courtesy of Modernbook Gallery
“With a knife in his hand, a pig butcher said he would chop me,” the 83-year-old Fan recounted recently for the South China Morning Post. “He wanted his spirit back.”
International Finance Centre at Central. This skyscraper was captured not longer after it was completed in 2005.
Tags: 1950s, book, city, exhibition, fanho, gallery, hongkong, modernbook, street photography
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Fan Ho’s Fantastic Black-and-White Street Photographs of 1950s Hong Kong
Wan Chai from the exhibition centre. This shot shows the bright lights of this amazing city.
The city of Hong Kong as seen from Victoria Peak, 2005. The high rises buildings of Central and Wan Chai are shown with Kowloon visible across the harbour.
Nine dragons of Kowloon with the city’s CBD in the foreground.
Connaught Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong. Using a slows shutter speed and tripod, this photograph shows the hustle and bustle of the Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district after dark. This photograph was taken in 2005.
The city of Hong Kong as seen from across the water on Kowloon.
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Photographer Ho Fan has been shooting black and white street photography since the 1950s. At the time, he was living in the poor, rundown Central neighborhood of Hong Kong. The streets, filled with food and trinket vendors, captured the recent Shanghai transplant’s attention. It was with this fascination that Fan took his camera to the streets, documenting the intriguing life around him.
The night time traffic on Connaught Road, Wan Chai. This long exposure black and white photograph tries to capture the pace and frenetic energy of the city.
At Central Star Ferry. This shot shows an abstract view of the Star Ferry Pier.
This photograph shows the view from Kowloon looking across Victoria harbour to Hong Kong’s Victoria Island.
International Finance Centre, Central, HK. One of Hong Kong’s tallest buildings.
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Below are just a few of Fan’s wonderful photographs that he and Modernbook Gallery were kind enough to share with us:
On the beach. This shot shows a local boy waiting on the beach at Big Wave Bay, HK. Photograph was taken in 2005.
Hong Kong Island 2000. This black and white photograph shows a local man looking across the water at Victoria Harbour.
Star Ferry crosses the harbour. The ferry has been making this journey for over 100 years.
His latest exhibition is currently up at Modernbook Gallery, where a plethora of his black and white images are being displayed for the world to enjoy. But even if you can’t make it to the gallery, you can secure yourself the best of Fan’s work by purchasing his latest photo book, Fan Ho: A Hong Kong Memior, which starts at $65 and features a number of limited edition options for upwards of $400.
Harbour view and the high rises on the island. . The photo shows the harbour and Kowloon beyond.
This black and white photograph with Sepia post processing shows the view across Victoria Harbour from Kowloon.
Hong Kong black and white photography Hong Kong, China in Black and White
Facade, Macau, South East Asia 2002. Not far from Hong Kong stands the former Portuguese colony of Macau.
Lonely junk on Stanley Harbour. This sepia toned print was taken in 2005.
Hong Kong is a fascinating city. Its history, its people, its architecture – both old and new, its location. This gallery attempts to show the subtler side to HK. The images shown here hopefully will strike a chord with anyone who has every spent any time living in the city.
Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong as viewed from the Kowloon side. The old junk is placed in juxtaposition to the modernity of Hong Kong’s high rise buildings.
Fan said it was always his goal to wait for the lighting and composition to fall into place when photographing. It was his goal to capture magic through his Rolleiflex one frame at a time. And he did just that.