Hong Kong’s 70s and 80s Nostalgic in Keith Macgregor’s Photographs
The images of Keith Macgregor are a nostalgic journey between Hong Kong in the ’70s and’ 80s, when the city contained a hybrid between British colonial culture and the chaotic metropolis it would become. The shots of the man, heir to John Macgregor, one of the first Scottish pioneers to venture to Shanghai in 1858, where he was able to found a successful commercial activity for wine and spirits called Caldbeck Macgregor Limited, is each the fragment of an evocative and unrepeatable era.
Looking at them, it seems to smell the smog, spices, ocean, life; the sounds of horns, rickshaw drivers, the voices of locals and coolies, the rustling of cheongsam worn by women. The details tell the thousand stories of the “Pearl of the East”, set among the waves, in the Chinese junks with white and rust-colored sails that sailed in the harbor next to the big merchant ships, in the field of the Hong Kong Cricket Club or near the then the tallest building in Asia, the Connaught Center, now better known as Jardine House.
The nuances of the art of Macgregor can be admired from 3 to 18 November, at the Black Lotus Gallery in Hong Kong thanks to “The Way We Were”, an exhibition that collects some of the artist’s most striking works. For the first time, among the many images of the Asian city, there will be Neon Fantasies, a special section dedicated to the myriad of neon signs that illuminated Hong Kong, making it look like the dystopian set of the cult movie “Blade Runner”.
“These photographs were of some of my favourite subjects – the wonderful “butterflies of the sea”, the Chinese junks which have now gone forever, along with most of the fishing community. For me they are a very sad loss but I am so glad that I managed to record a small part of their history.”