Sublime Street Photographs Of Hong Kong In The 1950s And 1960s

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.

More: Fan Ho – Portrait Of Hong Kong h/t: flashbak

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

“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

“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

Also, dont miss these spectacular photos of Hong Kong in the 1950s captured by a teenager…

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