A few weeks ago we stumbled upon some gorgeously, serene photos that capture the essence of Hong Kong perfectly. We got in touch with the lady behind the camera who, having lived in Hong Kong on and off for the past 20 years feels pretty strongly about preserving the beauty of Hong Kong. Read on to find out more about this lovely, sentimental photographer and of course to take a peek at her pretty snaps!
Name: Eva Angermann
Location: Hong Kong
1. Hello! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Are you from Hong Kong? If not, what brought you to the city?
Hi, I’ve lived in this city on and off since 1993. I moved here with my parents as a teen and after a few years in Berlin I came back. Now I live on Lamma Island with my husband and my 10 month old son.
2. The majority of the photos on your blog were taken in Hong Kong. What is it about the city that inspires you to photograph it?
So many possible subjects, dense urban areas, mountains, ocean, I like all the little different neighbourhoods and the markets . I like the layers, if that makes sense. After seeing so many things change and disappear, I would like to preserve some of it, I’m sentimental. Even on Lamma there is a lot of construction going on, it will be really different soon. I used to take photos of this farm on my way to the ferry, but the farmer is over 90 years old and just retired, I’m sure they will start building houses on the land soon and it breaks my heart a little.
3. If you could choose one of your photos to represent the essence of Hong Kong, which one would it be? And why?
I can’t. Getting everything of HK in one photo is impossible. I like this one though. Soon to be demolished old buildings and a glitzy high-rise, the good old old HK cliché of old vs new.
4. Your ‘Kong Kong Alley Medley’ album is particularly interesting. In a city as busy and bustling as Hong Kong, a lot of people forgot that there are little alleyways hidden behind the central streets. What do you like about these quieter areas?
They go a little unnoticed, but they are everywhere and that’s why I like them. It’s nice to walk a few steps from a crazy busy market street and be pretty much alone all of a sudden. I think someone should write a poem about Hong Kong Alleys, the greasy concrete, dishwashers from the restaurants, smokers on a break, barbershops and humming air cons. They are also great shortcuts, if you don’t mind the occasional vile smell.
5. On your blog you have a list of the cameras you use. Is there one in particular that you can always rely on? Tell us a little about your various cameras.
I don’t believe that gear is that important, but I love cameras, especially mechanical ones which don’t rely on battery. So theoretically you can bring them to the arctic and they still work. So there are a lot of cameras at our house, several SLRs, rangefinders and some really simple one. Some are from family, some from ebay and an Fm3A from Champagne Court in TST. We have an EHO Box camera from the 1930s, a very basic camera, but it has 3 aperture settings, two exposure settings and a portrait lens attached. It’s almost a hundred years old, but it works really well. And of course there is the infamous Leica, I was always wondering what the fuss is about, but when I had the chance to use an M2 this summer it was a bit of a revelation. Yeah, I get it now. If I know beforehand that I’ll have time to take photos, I will take my Nikon Fm3a with a 50mm or a 24mm or my dad’s Canon, it also depends on my mood. Right now I’d rather use an unobtrusive, small camera.
6. Your photos really seem to capture ’ little moments’. Are you spontaneous with your photography or do you plan beforehand? Perhaps you can choose a few of your favourite photos and tell us a little about them. Is there a story behind the photos?
There is no concept. I’m not sure if that is a bad thing or not, most of them happen by chance. I try to notice things that are pretty, ugly or both.
Parts of northern Wan Chai are surprisingly calm. There is this giant wax apple tree with lots of rotting fruit underneath and next to it is an old school that has been abandoned and has this whole eerie AngkorWat thing going on. Apart from the mosquito swarms it’s a really peaceful place.
This was in Berlin last summer, it’s taken with the Olympus XA, so no one pays attention to you, because it’s so small. I like the theatrical feel of this one.
HK needs more street music! This band in Osaka was playing Jazz, I got lucky when the lady in the background took a glance.
Very HK: food, shopping and phones ;)
This is Po Toi, taken with a simple Point and Shoot.
I like the mood here. I wish I could say it’s only morning mist.
7. We see you’ve experimented with a fisheye lens. Have you tried any of our Lomography products? What do you know about Lomography?
I had an LC-A more than 10 years ago and I got the fisheye one last year for Christmas. I’ve also used some of the Lomo film in the past.
First of all, I like that fact that they promote film, more people using film, means less labs closing down and less film emulsions being discontinued. Maybe they can buy all the discontinued emulsions from Kodak! How about it?
I enjoyed using the fisheye, and I like the impulsive approach, also I support the idea that the camera doesn’t have to be the very best camera to yield good results that capture mood and moments well. Having said that, I do like a sharp lens ;) The LC Wide looks like a fun camera to shoot with and the Belair looks pretty cool too.
8. Do you carry a camera with you on a daily basis? Even if you have the same routine everyday, there’s always something to be photographed. It’s all about creativity and seeing beyond the usual scene. Do you agree?
Absolutely. I’ve taken lots of photographs during lunch breaks and on my way to work in the morning. At the moment I usually have an Olympus XA in my bag or the Canon Prima 5. They are both small and light so even if I don’t take a photo, it’s not a hassle to carry them around.
9. We’re curious as to whether you have any new projects on the horizon? Are there any areas of Hong Kong you are yet to explore with your cameras? We’d love to see some more photos!
I’ve had enough of the city at the moment. I need some sky! We are planning a long trip for next year, so hopefully I will have some Patagonian scenery in front of my camera soon. In the meantime HK has plenty of country parks.
10. Finally, do you have any advice for budding photographers and bloggers out there? We’d love to hear your tips!
Not sure if I’m in a position to give advice. I wish people would take less photographs sometimes. Using a prime lens makes me take better photos and being close to the subject emotionally and literally is always good.
Thank you so much to Eva Angermann for sharing her beautiful photos with us and for being such a great interviewee. Pop over to her blog Photos from Hong Kong to check out more of her photography!