Marcel Heijnen’s Heartwarming Photographs Of Hong Kong’s “Garage Dogs”
He first brought us the Hong Kong Shop Cats and then the Hong Kong Market Cats, both available as books. Now Dutch photographer Marcel Heijnen is back with Hong Kong Garage Dogs.
Moving away from our feline friends for this particular series and book, Marcel explores another quirky aspect of Hong Kong’s culture. The dogs’ gruffer yang to his cats’ fluffier yin reveals an unapologetically masculine world of car parts, engine grease and tough love.
“The discovery of the subject matter was more happenstance than premeditation. A few people suggested that I should feature dogs after the cat series, but I initially saw no reason for it, simply because I rarely spotted dogs that blended in with Hong Kong’s urban environment as well as the shop cats do,” remarks Marcel. “Then, while on a break during the reprint of the first shop cat book, I took a stroll through the industrial Chai Wan estate and met Shu Shu, the cover dog, just a bone’s throw away from the printer’s location.
“I soon embarked on a mission to scout the territory’s car repair areas, from Shau Kei Wan to To Kwa Wan and from Tai Kok Tsui to Kam Tin – to spot photogenic canines. Garage Dogs is a more masculine and darker premise than Shop Cats. But there is also a parallel – like the cats, these dogs are functional animals, rather than pets. While the cats protect the goods in the stores against mice, the dogs guard the car workshops against thieves.
“Although not as cute and calm as the cats, the hounds gave me an excellent opportunity to expand the narrative of Hong Kong’s ‘beautiful organic chaos’ with an animal as a common element.”